When I was 11 years old, the first thing I ever learned to cook was pasta. I loved cooking, and boy do I love pasta. So, I first learned the basic steps: how to use the stove, how to boil the water, and how to cook the pasta until it tastes just right. A couple of years later, I was in the kitchen making my pasta and I wanted to try out a new recipe. I added some seasoning and other ingredients, and it was love at first sight. The pasta tasted amazing, and almost ten years later, I still make this same recipe.
First, start with boiling the water. Okay, this sounds like a basic one. Well, here's the trick. I boil my pasta on medium to high heat with the cover on. When I am boiling water, I like to add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt. This softens the pasta and cooks it to create a nonstick texture while the pasta is cooking. After you pour the pasta into the water, make sure you are constantly stirring it in slow motion. In order to do this, you have to make sure you are watching the pasta as you go. Take a piece out once its ready and try it. If it tastes to your preference, then drain the pasta water into a colander, and mix the pasta with extra virgin olive oil.
What I prefer to do is pour half a box worth of pasta back into the pan I originally cooked it in and add butter (I prefer unsalted butter, and you'll see why in the next step.) I mix the butter all throughout the pasta until it is completely melted. Then I add salt until it dissolves. Next, I add Italian seasoning. This stuff works like a charm. It's a mixture of oregano, basil, and a few other ingredients that pair very well with pasta. Next, I add cheese. I prefer to shredded aged parmesan cheese. Then, I pour the other half of the pasta in and repeat these steps until it's evenly flavored.
Personally, I'm not a huge sauce person, but let's say you or a friend is. Simply make one batch with just seasoning, and one with sauce AND seasoning. My personal favorite sauce is Four cheese. In case you can't tell, I'm a huge cheese fan.
Now as for sides, this dish pairs very well with a traditional Ceasar salad. You can also add some chicken or veal, and to top it off... breadsticks. Who doesn't love bread, am I right?