When you make pasta salad, does your pasta turn into a sticky clump as it cools while you finish preparing the remaining ingredients in your recipe? Here's a trick I stumbled upon while browsing through cookbooks, and which I've modified a bit through trial and error. If you follow these simple steps, they'll keep your pasta from sticking or become one big clump. This technique is especially helpful with whole-wheat pasta, which seems to have a greater tendency to stick or clump if left in a colander for just a few minutes.
First, cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente--I like my pasta to have a firm, toothsome texture. While the pasta is cooking, lightly grease a large bowl with a thin coating of olive oil. Drain the pasta into a large colander, then rinse under cold water for a few minutes to halt the cooking process. Once the pasta is cool and completely drained, transfer into the greased bowl and drizzle in just a little olive oil while gently tossing the pasta with a soft spatula, large serving spoon or even your hands. The goal is to just barely coat all of the pasta with a little bit of oil, which will prevent it from sticking together while you finish preparing the rest of the ingredients for your pasta salad.
Once the pasta is coated with the oil, it can sit on your counter or in the refrigerator for as long as it takes for you to finish getting the rest of the ingredients ready. In fact, you could even prepare the pasta this way the night before serving and store it in your refrigeration until you're ready to assemble the pasta salad.