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How to Make the Perfect Al Dente Pasta

Beyond the dump-noodles-in-water routine

Photo: Company's Coming: Rush-Hour Recipes

Al Dente (which means “to the tooth”) pasta is just a little bit firm. Here’s how to get it just right.

1. Pour water into a pot -- don't tell your doctor we said this, but the ideal water should literally be like the ocean. In other words, be heavy handed with the salt.

2. Add heat to the pot and let it come to a rolling boil before putting the pasta in -- don't be tempted to add it too soon.

3. While your pasta is cooking, start heating up your sauce.

4. Check the timing instructions on your pasta box. Then, pull the noodles out a few minutes before you’re supposed to and transfer them to your hot sauce (no rinsing). Let the noodles and the sauce finish cooking together -- they'll each take on the taste of the other. Plus, this helps the sauce stick to the noodles.

Nestpert: Divya Gugnani is the founder and CEO of BehindtheBurner.com, a site specializing in the tips, tricks, and techniques of the culinary world, and author of the upcoming Sexy Women Eat (HarperCollins, January 2011). Her latest endeavor is the launch of WhatNotToDo101.com, where she dives into the rest of life’s challenges.

Now that you know how to make the perfect pasta, check out our pasta recipes at TheNest.com

-- The Nest Editors

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