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Jul 16, 2012 09:36 PM

Al dente or soft

After going to Italy and having pasta. I find myself really enjoying what they call al dente.. I have found that most cooking times labeled on the box were overdone by a couple minutes for dry pasta. I'll toss the pasta when cooked with a little of the water into a pan with some sauce and cook over high heat for a minute. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Most people I know like their pasta cooked very soft and then swimming in sauce. Do you like your pasta undercooked or overcooked?

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  1. Al dente, per favore. Unless it's baked in a casserole.

    1. Nobody should ever rely on box labels for pasta cooking times. You need to subtract several minutes from the recommendations then test for doneness every couple of minutes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ferret

        Except on certain Italian pastas where if you follow the directions the pasta will be inedibly hard eg Spiga di Puglia says 5 min for spaghettini #2 which results in a light yellow raw centre -- needs 7 min for Mr Dente to make an appearance :-).

      2. I prefer al dente for sure, probably a bit more than some may be used to. I like the bite and the fact that when I stab some penne, it doesn't slide off the tines of the fork.

        1. Al dente. I'm very selective with the type of dry pasta I purchase and minute by minute I test it.
          Soft makes me gag.

          2 Replies
          1. re: latindancer

            A sidenote...

            I'm equally selective when it comes to the olive oil I'll use on the pasta.

            1. re: latindancer

              I am also selective. The olive oil industry has seen a increase of olive oils claiming to be extra virgin, when actually they are not. I live in California, So I have been using Corto wich has been certified by the olive oil board.

          2. I don't like it fully soft, gloppy, but prefer a little past al dente.

            I do like super soft elbows when I do baked macaroni, though, or baked ziti. Anything where the pasta is only a component, rather than the star.