The real boiling time for orecchiette pasta?

by Nancy
(Charleston, SC)

All the recipes I have checked state that I should follow the directions on the package.

The problem... the packet only states to "boil the orecchiette (little ear pasta) to the desired tenderness." It does not give me any approximate boiling time!

I am making Souther Mac & Cheese with this pasta, and tried it once but the pasta was horrible. All I want is to know "about" how long to boil it.

My recipe is for elbows and it tells me to cook the elbows until the outside is cooked and the inside is underdone.

Can you please help me Matt?



Response: Hi Nancy. Well it's certainly strange that your macaroni's packet doesn't give a specific cooking time. Usually they do, and in the case of Italian pasta brands, they are usually very accurate (providing you time it after you drop the pasta in and when the water has begun to boil again).

My best suggestion, AKA the real Italian way to tell, is this:

- When your pasta has been boiling for a few minutes (maybe start from 5 mins), take out a piece and bite or cut through it.

- If it's very white in the middle, keep cooking it.

- When there is just a very thin white part left in the middle of the pasta (look at it from the side), that's 'al denté - which means most Italians consider it done).

However I'm British and prefer it a little softer, so I cook it just until the central white bit (the uncooked bit) disappears, not more.

I hope that's clear. Do let me know how you get on. Buon appetito!


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