The difference between perfectly cooked pasta and a mushy mess is just a couple of minutes too long in the pot. Most pasta comes with an approximate cooking time printed on the package, but it’s good to try a piece of pasta when you’re getting close to the specified range instead of blindly following the package instructions and ending up with overcooked pasta. What are you looking for? You should cook your pasta “al dente,” which means it should be slightly underdone in the center. It should give you some resistance when you chew, but should not be hard. (If it’s hard, you need to cook it longer). Not only is cooking your pasta al dente a better texture than cooking it longer (when it’s completely soft throughout), but it has a lower glycemic index (the measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a food) than pasta that’s cooked longer.