I’m breaking down the basics of pasta cooking and the first lesson we need to cover is how to make al dente pasta and why it is so important.
- Al Dente translates to “to the tooth” which means when you bite your pasta, it should have a little bit of a crunch to it. If you cook it further than this, it will be mushy, will not absorb the sauce and will also make it harder to digest. When you cook pasta just to al dente, it will have a lower glycemic index which means it will supply a stable stream of energy, keeping you satisfied and fueling your muscles without any crash. When you over cook pasta, you lose this benefit and you will feel sluggish after eating your sad and mushy plate of pasta. Not a winning combination!
If your pasta sticks to a wall, it’s over cooked. Please do not commit this pasta sin. The only way to know if your pasta is truly al dente is to taste it.
- As a general rule, 1 to 2 minutes less that the cooking package directs is usually the sweet spot for perfectly al dente pasta. Set a timer, but also don’t forget to taste the pasta. It’s always better to slightly under cook pasta than over cook it. You can always cook it more in the sauce with a little tears of the gods (pasta water!).