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Old 10-17-2019, 11:25 AM   #1
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Al Dente?

The 'conventional wisdom' is that you cook dry pasta al dente. That is, not completely cooked through. If you cut a cross section of the al dente pasta you can still see a thin white line or dot in the center that is still not completed cooked. TV chefs and most others tell you this is the ONLY right way to cook pasta.

Another 'conventional wisdom' is that fresh pasta is so much better than dry.

If you accept both these premises, how do you reconcile the fact that you absolutely cannot cook fresh pasta al dente?

Things that make you go, "Hmmm."
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:03 PM   #2
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I have a different definition of al dente. I cook dry pasta until that dry centre "core" just vanishes and the pasta is still firm, still needs teeth to chew it (to the tooth).
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:01 PM   #3
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I have a different definition of al dente. I cook dry pasta until that dry centre "core" just vanishes and the pasta is still firm, still needs teeth to chew it (to the tooth).
OK, but that's still a texture you cannot achieve with fresh pasta. The two extremes seem incongruous.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:16 PM   #4
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It always seemed to me that leaving that "core" made it possible to then toss with the sauce, or other topping, and then, when served, its has just disappeared. I use the same method with rice noodles: soak in warm water, just until flexible, but still has the core, then they are tossed in the wok, for a minute and a half or two, just until they are cooked through, adding quickest cooking ingredients last.

Obviously pasta doesn't have to be al dente to be eaten. How else would all those re-heated leftovers still get eaten?

As for fresh egg pasta, I find that to be quite firm after just cooking it for a minute, after the water returns to a boil. And it seems to stay firm better when re-heated, than dry pasta.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The 'conventional wisdom' is that you cook dry pasta al dente. That is, not completely cooked through. If you cut a cross section of the al dente pasta you can still see a thin white line or dot in the center that is still not completed cooked. TV chefs and most others tell you this is the ONLY right way to cook pasta.

Another 'conventional wisdom' is that fresh pasta is so much better than dry.

If you accept both these premises, how do you reconcile the fact that you absolutely cannot cook fresh pasta al dente?

Things that make you go, "Hmmm."
Very good point.

I only boil to al dente if I am going to finish cooking the pasta in a sauce. I do NOT like to EAT al dente pasta.

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Old 10-17-2019, 06:43 PM   #6
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I just boil and taste, when It feels right, it's right. I never paid too much attention to the core ( if any).

Fresh pasta has always had a different consistency for me. Personally, Im not a big fan of the fresh pasta consistency, and , they also taste to eggy for me anyway.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:53 PM   #7
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I only bother about the core, because it gives me a good notion of how close my pasta is to ready.

Larry, if you don't like your fresh pasta to be too eggy, make some with no egg, just flour and water. I recently heard on Pasta Grannies that you use egg with 00 flour, which is on the soft side and no egg with hard flour. I almost never use egg when I make pasta.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:24 AM   #8
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My favourite homemade pasta is with 3 eggs. Love it, holds up well, cooks so fast. Don't notice an eggy taste but it does take on the rich yellow of fresh farm eggs.

Have some from last Sunday and still good. (But I guess there is a limit so will try to finish it today/tomorrow... maybe cold salad?)

Larry there are lots of eggless recipes out there, I'm sure I've tried a few, just don't remember which or what I thought of them.

But I'm on the side of 'al dente' is the point at which you should take it out of the water and add to your sauce to finish cooking, at which point it is 'to the tooth'.

Fresh pasta needs to dry a bit before cooking. I haven't figured out just how long that drying period is. Actually don't really care as so far no matter how long I've 'dried' the pasta it still comes out delish and of a good texture.
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The 'conventional wisdom' is that you cook dry pasta al dente. That is, not completely cooked through. If you cut a cross section of the al dente pasta you can still see a thin white line or dot in the center that is still not completed cooked. TV chefs and most others tell you this is the ONLY right way to cook pasta.

Another 'conventional wisdom' is that fresh pasta is so much better than dry.

If you accept both these premises, how do you reconcile the fact that you absolutely cannot cook fresh pasta al dente?

Things that make you go, "Hmmm."
Heck with "conventional wisdom", cook pasta to order the way YOU enjoy eating it!

If the TV chefs aren't then mentioning that you need to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce with some of the pasta water added in, they're doing their viewers a disservice. It's the only way to get the under-cooked core (still dry) part of the pasta cooked. Fresh pasta is hydrated evenly throughout the thickness of the cut. Since there is no hard, dry area to stay al dente, your fresh pasta is ready when it is cooked to the texture you enjoy.

Himself said that there is one way to make fresh pasta al dente - let the water boil out of the pot while cooking your pasta and it will definitely be al dente. (I think he might have been speaking from previous personal experience...)
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:57 PM   #10
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Heck with "conventional wisdom", cook pasta to order the way YOU enjoy eating it! ...

This is exactly what I do. And I don't feel like I've ruined the dish by doing so. I guess I'll just have to make more fresh pasta.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:57 AM   #11
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Larry, if you don't like your fresh pasta to be too eggy, make some with no egg, just flour and water. I recently heard on Pasta Grannies that you use egg with 00 flour, which is on the soft side and no egg with hard flour. I almost never use egg when I make pasta.
I think I tried an eggless pasta once and didn't have much lick ( dont remember why). But im up for giving it another shot again. The low carb diet though is a pain in the butt, so I dont want to get hooked
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:24 AM   #12
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Some lower calorie, and gluten free pastas:
1. Shiratak[/URL]i Noodles
2. Brown Rice Pasta
3. Chickpea Pasta
4.Soba Noodles (be careful when purchasing. Sobab noodles are made from buckwheat, however, some brands include other grain flours in there product.
5. Cellphane noodles (bean thread noodles, glass noodles, etc.) [URL="https://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/seriously-asian-cellophane-noodles.html"]

These all will work with a myriad of sauces, but really sine in Asian food preperations.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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