Pasta can be an enjoyable main or side dish. The texture of cooked pasta changes how much you enjoy the meal. A soggy plate-full of noodles does not look or taste the way pasta should. Cook fettuccine noodles al dente for a visually and texturally appealing meal.
Pasta is available in many different shapes. The amount of grains, flours and liquids and the way in which the ingredients are mixed and shaped change the pasta. Twisty and curvy pasta better holds sauces made with meats. Thick noodles such as lasagna are best for casseroles. Fettuccine noodles are ribbon-like ad thin, about 1/4 inch wide — noodles you cover with sauce, oil or butter.
Al dente is a way to cook pasta. Translated from Italian, the phrase means "to the bite", or "to the taste," "Bon Appetit" magazine explains. Your texture preference for fettuccine noodles is likely different than someone else's, so your version of al dente noodles may be different, too. Al dente noodles should not be too firm or too soft. You are able to bite into the noodles and feel some resistance against your teeth, but not so much that your jaw begins to ache after chewing your pasta dinner.
Change the amount of water according to the amount of fettuccine noodles you prepare. Use a large, 8-quart pot for 1 lb. of pasta and fill the pot approximately 3/4 full of water. Bring the water to a boil, then add 2 tsp. of salt to the water. Add the fettuccine and stir the noodles in until the noodles are submerged. Place a lid over the pot and expect to cook the noodles for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep watch on the noodles, stirring the pot occasionally. Pull out soft noodles and taste it periodically as you cook. Remove the pasta from the stove when it reaches your desired texture.
Drain your noodles in a colander after they reach your desired al dente consistency. "Bon Appetit" recommends tossing the noodles in a tablespoon of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Leave a little of the water in the pot and return your noodles to the pot. The excess water helps mix the sauce with your noodles.