When you’re the one cooking the pasta — whether it be for a dinner party, a family meal or simply to savor solo — you yearn for that perfect al dente texture. There’s nothing worse that mushy noodles (slightly crunchy noodles come close, though).

Fortunately, there’s one easily avoidable thing that you might be doing in the kitchen that’s leading to your fettuccini failure. Your angel hair gone awry. Your capellini catastrophe.

The one tip for perfect pasta

The mistake that a lot of people make during pasta cooking is using a pot that’s too small. This might seem like a harmless blunder: Can’t you just break the noodles in half to make them fit?

Experts say no. And it has to do with the decreased amount of water in a smaller pot.

“When you add pasta to a small amount of water, it lowers the temperature of the water substantially more than if you added it to a large amount of water, so the water will take longer to return to a boil,” chef Michael Symon, the owner of five restaurants in Cleveland and an Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, told Real Simple. “In the meantime, the pasta will sit at the bottom of the pot and start to clump up and become mushy unless you are vigilant about stirring.”

Upgrade your pasta pot

So, if you’re going to make any cooking resolutions in 2021, resolve to cook your pasta in a larger pot — Italian grandma style. Bring your water to a rapid boil, add your pasta, and wait for that al dente magic to transpire.

See Also: The world’s best pasta sauce can be made with only three ingredients