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Al dente

In cooking, the Italian expression al dente describes pasta and (less commonly) rice or beans that have been cooked so as to be firm but not hard.

"Al dente" also describes vegetables that are cooked to the "tender crisp" phase - still offering resistance to the bite, but cooked through. Keeping the pasta firm is especially important in baked or "al forno" pasta dishes.

The term "al dente" comes from Italian and means "to the tooth" or "to the bite", referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness. The term is also very commonly used as a name for Italian restaurants around the world.

Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft.

One popular method of determining if pasta has been cooked "al dente" is taking out one noodle with a fork and trying it.  Another popular method is to throw a noodle at a wall.  If it sticks, it is ready.

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