Tips & Techniques > What is Al Dente?

Tres pastas hd854

Al dente pasta simply means to cook pasta slightly under done. Translated from Italian, al dente means “to the tooth”. This means that pasta offers a slight resistance when bitten into. Al dente pasta can only be achieved with dried, extruded pasta.

The picture to the right shows 3 degrees of doneness. The one on the left is undercooked. You can see there is a white ring surrounding the still dry pasta in the center. The pasta in the middle is cooked al dente, which is what we are looking for. The center has a solid white dot, indicating that it still has a bit of a bite. The one on the right is slightly overcooked, as you can see the center is fully cooked through and it has started to swell and absorb excess water.