When is the pasta ready?

Every chef has his own technique to measure the "al dente" status of the pasta: many bite it to check if the white center has disappeared, others taste every minute to avoid it being overdone. Some throw the pasta on the wall: if it stays then it's ready...

Pasta should be prepared ‘al dente’ meaning ‘firm to the tooth’ because it's the most pleasing texture and also the easiest way to digest it. Undercooked pasta will leave the pasta crude. Overcooked pasta doesn’t have the gentle resistance that increases the pleasure of the palate. Both ways are difficult to digest. 

When cooking dry pasta our rule of thumb would be to follow the cooking times written on the pasta package. This may seem obvious advice but many of us don’t give them a second thought and so we end up with overcooked stodgy pasta. You can measure high quality pasta because it is the one which will keep the “al dente” status for longer.

Start checking the pasta 2 mins before the recommended finish time (this depends on the cooking method you chose) To ensure that you don’t pass the ‘al dente point’  taste it, look at it to see if there is still a lot of white visible, if there is then this means that the pasta is still not ready so leave it to cook a little while longer. Stay with it, try not to get distracted because with pasta you can’t turn back the clock so continue to check it often. When it has reached the ‘al dente’ status it should have a harder center visible by a whitish ring and a softer outer layer, also you need to feel a gentle resistance when you bite it. Add it straight to the sauce if possible as this will strengthen the marriage between the pasta and the sauce. 

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