AL DENTE PASTA
"Al dente" is Italian for "to the tooth". Al dente pasta is a way of cooking pasta just slightly undercooked so that its a little bit chewy. Because no one likes soggy fall-apart-when-you-pick-it-up pasta, right? Being Italian, pasta is for real my love language. So I want to cook it right...and I want the same for you!
To cook your pasta al dente, I recommend cooking it just slightly under what the box instructions say. So if your boxed pasta says 10 minutes, cook it for 8. But there's a little more to it. Here's how I'd recommend:
1. Picking your pasta: I'd recommend getting pasta with ridges (why? because it will hold on to your sauce so much better than a smooth pasta like angel hair). The more ridges and curls and nooks in your noodle the better!
2. Start by boiling your water. Salt your pasta water GENEROUSLY. Like 4 pinches of salt in there at least. This is the only time your noodles will get salted! It's important that we flavor each layer of our meal!
3. Once the water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes under what the box says to do.
4. Make your sauce in a separate skillet while your pasta cooks.
5. Once your timer goes off, DO NOT DRAIN YOUR PASTA! That starchy pasta water is liquid gold and we want to keep as much of it as we can. It will help the sauce stick to the pasta. Take your pasta pot off the heat and use a slated spoon to scoop out your pasta directly into your sauce pan.
6. If your sauce gets too thick (like if you are making a marinara), you can use a couple scoops of that liquid gold pasta water to thin it out.
7. Cook your pasta IN YOUR SAUCE PAN for another 2 minutes or so, until sauce is sticking to your pasta well. ** make sure your pasta has enough sauce to swim in so that it isn't sticking to the pan or burning.
Viola! You did it! You made al dente not-overcooked pasta!! Woooooo!!!!