Add 1 tablespoon salt to 3 quarts rapidly boiling water in deep kettle. Drop 1 package (7 or 8 ounce) macaroni, spaghetti or noodles into water gradually so water keeps boiling. If spaghetti strands are left whole, place one end in water. As they soften, gradually coil them around in kettle until submerged. If you wish, break spaghetti in 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch lengths. Cook, uncovered, at fast boil, stirring occasionally with long fork to prevent sticking. Cook just until tender (7 to 10 minutes or see time on package). Test by cutting with fork against kettle. Drain quickly in colander. Toss with 3 tablespoons butter or sauce to prevent strands sticking together. 4 to 6 servings.
Thicker walled products require a longer time (15 to 18 minutes or see package directions).