Wednesday, January 24, 2007

24th January | Al Dente

For you, born on this date 30 years ago, whom last I heard was dating an Italian.

Ironic, because I was the one that love pasta.


Pasta should be cooked in plenty of fast-boiling, salted water. Biling water “seals” the pasta and allows it to move freely and swell. A bit of olive oil added to the water helps prevent sticking. Timing should begin only when the water returns to the boil, and the pot should be uncovered. Do not break the long strands but push them slowly in as they soften and bend.

Test the pasta as it cooks—don’t merely time it. The time can vary usually eight to ten minutes for dry pasta and about three for fresh. Drain it when it is still a trifle undercooked or al dente.

The business of al dente or "bitey." Shows up in every knowledgeable text. It is the way Italians eat it—or so they say. Since pasta continues to cook after it has been drained and all the way to the mouth, the advice often given is to stop its cooking in the water when it is just soft enough to be bitten through without its snapping, very “bitey” indeed. Once you’re accustomed to pasta being somewhat stiff and not soggy, you are told, you will want it no other way. Perhaps this is true, though in Italy you will find it often served long past al dente, and it is also true that elsewhere it is comonly overcooked to an unpleasant softness.

Taken from Life Is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days, by James & Kay Salter

No comments: