Mistake #4 Mushy Pasta
Pasta left to cook too long will continue to absorb water and then swell up as all the starches in the noodles fully gelatinize. Not only will their texture be mushy, they will also easily break up when stirring or attempting to serve them, and they won’t be as nutritionally viable.
For one thing, with all the starches gelatinized, the complex carbohydrate structure of the pasta will be compromised and its glycemic index will rise since the body will break it down more quickly. Suffice to say that overcooked pasta is unappetizing.
The Fix—Set a Timer
Most boxed pastas come with a suggested cooking time. Start checking your pasta a good three or four minutes before the low end of the range given. For example, if the box says 10-12 minutes, start checking it in 6-7 minutes. What you’re looking for is a texture called “al dente.”
Al dente is an Italian term that literally translates to “to the tooth.” This means that the pasta should offer some resistance when you bite into it.
What you should see when you break apart of al dente spaghetti, for example, is cooked pasta surrounding a small dot of uncooked pasta. When you bite into al dente pasta, you shouldn’t hear a crunch, but there should be definite resistance as you bite through the middle.
Many people think that you can tell whether pasta is done by throwing it against a wall. All this really does is make a mess. Besides, your wall won’t be eating the pasta, you will. Do yourself, and your walls, a favor and taste for doneness instead.
I agree with most of what you said, but lately I’ve been doing the trick of using less water and sometimes starting in a cold pot as mentioned on SeriousEats.com. You end up with a higher starch percentage in the water, which helps your sauce. The only downside is that you have to be attentive when the pasta is put in the pot, you can’t just throw it in and go do other stuff.