How to Cook Pasta Al Dente. Al dente is a Italian term for pasta meaning that is is fully cooked, but not overly soft. An Italian phrase for "to the tooth," it comes from testing pasta's consistency with your teeth. Learn to cook pasta al dente to enhance the taste of your Italian dishes.
Boil 4 to 6 quarts per pound of dry pasta. Adjust this amount as needed for smaller or larger servings.
Stir in the pasta and allow water to return to a boil.
Stir the pasta and it cooks and pay attention to the cooking time as labeled on the box.
Remove a piece of pasta from the water and allow a few seconds for it to cool. Take a bite of the pasta. It should be firm, but not hard. You should be able to bite through the pasta.
Drain the pasta immediately for a fresh batch, perfectly al dente.
Never rinse pasta with water. The starches contained in the noodles or pieces keep it from sticking together. Watch the pasta carefully when cooking as it is easy to become overdone.