Any pasta fan will have come across the phrase “al dente.” But what exactly does that mean, and should every pasta be cooked to al dente perfection? The term al dente comes from an Italian phrase that translates as “to the tooth.” This is related to the hardness of the pasta. When cooked correctly, al dente pasta should still be tender but also firm to the bite. It shouldn’t be mushy and fall apart! So how can you cook al dente pasta, and how can you appreciate good al dente when you’ve got it? Read on to find out.
How to Test for Al Dente
Some chefs say that when you bite into a piece of pasta, and there is a tiny white dot in the center, it is al dente. Others say it is when the dot is no longer there. This dot represents a slight undercooking of the pasta. Regardless, al dente pasta will always have a bite to it.
You can start biting into pasta a minute or two before the package instructions indicate they should be “done.” If your teeth feel some biting resistance, but the pasta is still tender, you have reached al dente!
Fresh vs. Dried Pasta
Al dente feels differently with fresh pasta than with dried pasta. Fresh pasta only needs to be cooked for a brief time, but it can still achieve a nice bite. Fresh pasta has a smaller margin for error, so you need to pay attention to how long you cook your noodles. The important note to remember is to make sure not to overcook the pasta. By avoiding overcooked, mushy noodles, you can guarantee delicious al dente treats.
Authentic Italian Cuisine From Giolitti Deli
Giolitti Deli is a full-service Delicatessen in Annapolis, MD, specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. Founded in 1992, we use the freshest ingredients to make time-honed recipes from scratch, with no MSG or preservatives. We believe in real food and offer many healthy options, including vegetarian and vegan menu items. At Giolitti Deli, we make our own sauces, mozzarella, grilled and roasted vegetables, bread, pizza dough, and desserts, and our sandwiches, salads, pasta, pizza, and entrees are made to order. Owner Mary Giolitti has combined her passion for great food and fine wine to offer Annapolis a true taste of Italy!
Team members who also make the business possible include Manager Kathy Hunter, Manager and Catering Director Cheryl Molesky, Head Baker Porfirio Diaz, Chef Alfredo Escobar, and Deli Manager Noe Merino. To contact us, please visit our contact page or give us a call at 410.266.8600. Also, be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our blog!