When I was in high school, I dated a guy who was from an Italian family. He was actually born in Italy and came to America with his parents and grandparents when he was 4 years old. So he had a year to learn to speak English and adjust to life in America before he started school. When I met him he spoke perfect English and so did his parents. His grandmother was the only one still struggling to adjust to America. She stayed home most of the day and cleaned and cooked, and never had to use much English.
His grandmother’s cooking was fantastic. She let me spend some time with her in the kitchen and watch her cook, especially on Sundays. In their family, Sunday was always a big family gathering after church, and they had a huge Italian meal together. We would do that, too, but my family liked to have a ham or roast beef for the Sunday meal, whereas they always had some kind of pasta.
I learned how to cook spaghetti and a variety of pastas from a real Italian cook. I can tell you that it is important to put salt in the boiling water before you add the pasta. For a big pot of water, add at least 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt.
She also added a teaspoonful of olive oil. Some people say that is supposed to stop the pasta from sticking together. But she told me that the olive oil is to stop the water from foaming. If you want the pasta to not stick together, you need to have plenty of water and it needs to be a full, rolling boil before you add the pasta.