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In cooking, al dente // (Italian pronunciation: [al ˈdɛnte]) describes pasta and vegetables, rice, or beans that are cooked to be firm to the bite. The etymology is Italian "to the tooth".
In contemporary Italian cooking, the term identifies the ideal consistency for pasta and involves a brief cooking time. Molto al dente is the culinary term for slightly undercooked pasta. Undercooking pasta is used in the first round of cooking when a pasta dish is going to be cooked twice. The culinary term "al forno" is used for pasta dishes that are cooked twice.
Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft.[disputed ] When cooking commercial pasta, the al dente phase occurs right after the white of the pasta center disappears.
The term is used in reference to cooking vegetables, such as green beans or brussels sprouts, though this is often misunderstood as meaning that instead of being cooked all the way through, they still have a raw taste to them, generally undesirable in cooking. It should be interpreted as cooking them just until they lose their raw taste, as a way to avoid overcooking them.
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