Using a pot that’s too small

If you use a pot that’s not large enough, the water temperature will begin to drop. This will result in clumpy, mushy pasta. Additionally, this will create a higher starch-to-water ratio, which causes the pasta to stick together.

In conclusion: Avoid clumpy, mushy, and sticky pasta by using the right pot! Stick to a pot size between 6 and 8 quarts, and fill it up about ¾ of the way for 1 pound of pasta.

Not stirring pasta

While cooking pasta, stirring is critical! If you skip the stirring, you’ll be left with a giant clump of pasta stuck together. Make sure to stir the pasta immediately after adding it to the water, as well as occasionally during cooking.

Not checking if the pasta is done early enough

Feel free to relax while waiting on your pasta – but don’t forget to check in! After putting the pasta in, set a timer for two minutes. This is a good time to start checking (and tasting!) to see if your pasta is done.

Not salting the water

You may be watching your sodium, but pasta water still needs more than a pinch of salt. Remember: pasta doesn’t actually absorb all of the salt that goes into the water. Instead, the salt is used to “rough up” the surface and add seasoning. Here’s a helpful hint: Bring five to six quarts of water to a rapid boil, and then add one to two tablespoons of salt to the water.

Tossing the pasta water

After cooking, you might drain the pasta and let it go down the drain. Here’s a better idea: Place the colander over another pot, so that you can save the cooking liquid. Since the pasta water is well-seasoned and full of starch, it’s a great tool to use to finish your pasta sauce.