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How to Tell if Pasta is Ready

How to Tell if Pasta is Ready

How to Tell if Pasta is Ready

Perfectly cooked pasta is called "al dente," which in Italian means "to the tooth." Al dente pasta is cooked just enough to retain a firm texture while being fully pliable.


  • That "flinging the pasta against the wall" method might be fun, but it's not so reliable. Overdone pasta sticks, too.
  • If you don't relish tasting hot pasta, cut a piece in half. Then look at the cross-section of the pasta. If you can see a difference between the very center and the outer ring of the pasta, it's not done. If the pasta is one continuous shade and texture, it's done.
  • Italians never rinse their pasta.
  • Remove the pasta the moment you discover it to be "al dente" and eat it immediately.
  • A delicious pasta dinner is easy with these simple recipes: Angel Hair Pasta With Lemon and Chicken, Broccoli Pesto Linguine and Angel Hair Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes.


  1. Boil the pasta according to the package's instructions.
  2. At the minimum cooking time indicated on the package, or even a minute before, remove a piece of pasta from the boiling water with a fork.
  3. When it has cooled enough to touch, taste it.
  4. If the pasta is mildly chewy but doesn't stick in your teeth, it is done.
  5. If the pasta seems a little hard or sticks to your teeth, cook it 1 minute longer and test it again.
  6. Avoid overcooking your pasta.



Missing A Step

Foodie S. from San Francisco Bay Area

Always subtract one or two minutes from the box instructions, but then add it to the sauce. Flavors will blend with the sauce and you will finish cooking it there.

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