How to Cook Shell Pasta
Sure you can read the package. But directions on pasta packages are predicated on the false assumption that pasta will always cook at a similar rate and that you, the consumer, will be satisfied with overcooked pasta. Learn to cook pasta and you can cook any pasta, no package needed.
What you will need
Salt(Nutritional facts 325 calories, 1.32 g fat, 65.42 g carbohydrates, 11.42 g protein, undefined mg cholesterol, 2572 mg sodium)
How to cook
Put a pot of water on the stove. Add salt until it tastes almost as salty as the ocean. Bring it to a full rolling bowl. Most pasta packages will say you need 4-6 quarts of water to boil 1 lb of pasta. That's excessive. All you really need is enough water to keep your pasta covered for the duration of cooking, or at least keep it submerged once it's softened in the case of long pasta. Using too much water is wasteful of both energy and water.
Pour in the shell pasta and stir. Shell pasta will tend to sink to the bottom of the pot if you don't stir it towards the beginning of cooking. Stir several times, scraping against the bottom of the pot to avoid this.
When the shells are cooked, remove from hot water. How do you know they're done? That's up to you. Maybe you like them with a little bit of a snap. Maybe you prefer them limp and squishy. Just keep in mind that they will continue to cook after straining, when simmered in a sauce, or baked in the oven. Serving pasta is like shuffleboard. Launch it at the right moment, learning to account for the environmental factors, with the ultimate goal of nailing the ideal texture just as it hits your teeth.