Al Dente

Al dente is an Italian phrase that refers to the degree of doneness for pasta, rice, and some vegetables when they are cooked but still firm to the bite. It literally means “to the tooth.” Food that is cooked al dente is neither mushy nor raw. You can feel it in the center against your tooth. It is a shorthand term that was once rare to hear—and even rarer to find at a restaurant—but is now the cooking standard, and the term is used in common parlance.