To cook ditalini, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large, tall pot before adding a pound of ditalini and stirring gently. Bring the water back to a boil. Stirring intermittently and gently, boil the ditalini for 10 minutes. Drain it well.
Adding a pound of pasta to 4 to 6 quarts of boiling water and cooking it for roughly 8 to 14 minutes with the pot uncovered is a standard approach for cooking the various shapes and sizes of pasta to an al dente texture. For a slightly softer texture, cook the ditalini for one or two extra minutes.
Like most pasta, ditalini continues to cook after it is drained and tossed with sauce, so achieving an al dente texture in that case often means draining the ditalni a little earlier than its package directions indicate. Taste the ditalini and bite into it to gauge texture; it should be slightly resistant to the teeth.
If the ditalini is tossed in sauce, drain the pasta while it is still very al dente. To use ditalini in a salad, place the pasta in a bowl of ice water and olive oil after draining to stop the cooking process. Ditalini is the usual pasta in recipes for minestrone and pasta e fagioli. Its diminutive shape lends an interesting texture to soups and salads, and its size means it fits onto spoons.