The Italian saying “al dente” in English translates to the phrase, “to the tooth”.
It is no secret that although pasta may not have originated in Italy, the Italians have perfected the art of cooking it! Growing up in a family where pasta was as common as Strohmann white bread for most Americans, I on the other hand, knew from the time I was able to twirl spaghetti with my fork and spoon; pasta was not to be overcooked.
But if this rule of thumb still does not have you convinced, consider this: pasta al dente possesses a lower glycemic index than soft or pasta “scotto” (over-cooked) as Italians refer to it. With a slower rate of digestion than its more cooked counterpart and a slower absorption rate of carbohydrates, this tidbit of information can be a determining factor how often or how much one can indulge.
So, with this being the case, when leary about choosing a side of pasta with your main course, just remember to ask them to be sure it is prepared “al dente”