Why perfectly cooked pasta is good for you. Picture: Pexels

Any Italian chef will tell you the best way to have a bowl of pasta is al dente.

Al Dente means ‘to the tooth’ or firm to the bite. 

So if like me, you've been cooking and serving your family soft pasta, then you've been doing it wrong.

Chef Giorgio Nava, Proprietor of 95 Keerom and Carne SA in Cape Town won the Barilla World Pasta Championship in 2013 and is an ambassador of Academia Barilla in Parma so it comes as no surprise that he's a master when it comes to all things pasta. 

“Pasta should never be soft or over-cooked," he says. 

"A firmer pasta texture has a better mouth-feel and taste to enrich your favourite sauces, but there are also real health benefits to cooking your pasta al dente.”  

Chef Giorgio shares his tips on how to cook the perfect pasta and the health benefits: 

  • In Italy, the golden rule for cooking pasta is 1:10:100 which translates to 1-litre of water, 10g of salt and 100g of pasta.
  • The cooking time will depend on the cut and shape of the pasta.
  • Pasta made from durum wheat semolina and is cooked al dente has a lower glycaemic index (GI) than other starches.
  • The protein structure of durum wheat pasta lends elasticity and strength, and when cooked al dente, is digested more slowly than most other carbohydrates.

“The firmer the pasta, the longer the digestion time which means a lower spike in blood sugars,” he adds.