“Al dente” is an internationally used Italian cooking term that may refer to cooked pasta or rice, or less commonly beans and even vegetables. It is used when the food is still hard but not firm, so that one can bite on the pasta or rice. “Al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite”, meaning that the pasta needs to be chewed because of its firmness. But how to cook pasta al dente?
How to Cook Pasta al Dente?
The trick of cooking pasta al dente lies in using excellent quality Italian pasta and the required time for cooking. Italian pasta is usually made of durum wheat. This is the hardest species of wheat with very high protein content, which makes it always chewable, ie. al dente.
To cook your pasta al dente, never exceed the cooking time shown on the packaging. When using a new brand or even a new type of pasta, I recommend you taste it 1-2 minutes before the cooking time is over. Remember that your pasta will cook a little even after draining it.
Some other tips and tricks when cooking Italian pasta al dente:
- Put the water to boil, season with salt only when it’s already boiling.
- Use a large quantity of water. Generally 4 to 6 quarts of water for one pound of pasta.
- Never add oil to the water.
- Cook the pasta only for the time shown in the packaging. This is generally 6-12 minutes for dry pasta, depending on the size and shape. Fresh ones are ready in 2-6 minutes.
- You can taste your pasta. To cook it al dente, it should be something top bite in.
- When ready, drain your pasta retaining some of the cooking water. Cover it with a lid and let it rest for 1-2 minutes in its own steam.
- If necessary, add some cooking water to the sauce to adjust its consistency.
- Add your pasta to the sauce, mix and serve.