Al dente is a phrase commonly used in association with pasta, rice and cooking. Essentially, it means that you have cooked the pasta so as to be still firm when bitten. It is edible, yet still firm to the bite. Some people may also refer to al dente pasta as “to the tooth”. Arguably, it suggests that the pasta is slightly undercooked, however this is preferable when trying to create the best tasting meal. The opposite of al dente is overcooked pasta.
Everybody’s preferences are different when it comes to pasta, so some people may prefer harder pasta whereas other people will prefer softer pasta. Most people consider al dente pasta to be the ideal consistency for eating, and it only involves a brief cooking time. If you want firmer pasta, you should be boiling the pasta for a shorter time. If you want softer pasta, you should be boiling the pasta for a longer time.
When cooking certain dishes like lasagne and cannelloni, it can be difficult to cook the pasta al dente, as it will usually naturally be a slightly soggier dish. Pastas like spaghetti and ravioli are easier to measure and control for consistency. As you come to enjoy pasta more in your household, you will start to find out what type of pasta best suits your family.
When some of our customers order our online pasta and have bulk pasta delivered to their door, they may wonder how to perfectly cook the frozen pasta and ensure it can be enjoyed by the entire family. Our team of expert wholesale pasta makers have put together a handy list of steps to help you cook your fresh pasta wonderfully.
- Boil the water before adding the pasta.
Bringing your pot of water to the boil before you add any pasta will ensure it is the perfect cooking temperature when you start the timer.
- Read the packet instructions to know how long to cook your fresh pasta.
Fresh pasta, frozen pasta, pasta online and bulk pasta will have different recommended cooking times. Reading the individual packet instructions will help you know how to cook it. Always check and test your pasta throughout the cooking time, regardless of what the pasta packet says, because every stove works slightly differently.
- Before taking your pasta off the boil, test it.
It’s important that you test your pasta to see if it is al dente. When you bite into the pasta, you want it to be tender yet have some resistance against your teeth. If you can feel some firmness as well as tenderness, you have reached al dente. If the pasta is too hard, you need to continue boiling it.
- When al dente, drain the pasta immediately.
If you turn the heat off without draining the pasta, the pasta may still be subject to some cooking and development in the hot pot. This means that it could go from al dente to overcooked if you aren’t careful.