For the tastiest sauté, first lay down a flavor base with a bit of fat
Then add just-boiled pasta to the pan. Dried pasta is better than fresh for absorbing flavor.
The first step for a sauté pan pasta is to choose a fat to establish a flavor base for the entire dish. Fat is a great flavor carrier, so this first step ensures that the flavors of whatever subsequent ingredients you choose will permeate the dish.
Start with a little olive oil or butter. Olive oil is usually my first choice, but sometimes I use butter for a sweeter, richer flavor—it's especially good with slow-cooked vegetables, like the leeks in Linguine with Leeks, Prosciutto & Lemon. Butter burns easily, though, so in the recipes that need high-heat sautéing, I've called for half butter and half olive oil to prevent scorching.
For a deeper, almost smoky flavor base, brown some bacon, pancetta, or sausage. Once the meat is nicely browned, reserve it to add later on, and keep a few tablespoons of the rendered fat in the pan to help flavor the dish, along with the cooked-on brown bits. (I like to save fat scraps from prosciutto and melt them with the olive oil; they add a lovely aromatic hint to this type of pasta.) If you happen to have any duck fat on hand, try it with poultry, with cabbage or other hearty winter greens, or with mushrooms and sage or rosemary.