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andante

Andante is an adjective that describes the relative cooking time of pasta or, rather, one particular pasta cooking style.

The dictionary we are using to create our words list does not include the term al dente. This is fortunate for us here at The Words Project because it means that we can use the term al dente in our definition of andante without screwing it up by defining the terms inconsisently.

So, here goes. Whereas al dente means slightly undercooked, andante means grossly overcooked. And when we say grossly we do, indeed, mean grossly.In fact, that hardly does it justice.

(Now that we come to think of it, we didn’t need to include al dente in this definition after all. Oh, well. Never mind. We’re too lazy to pull it out now.)

To cook pasta andante, the water in the pot must be boiling with the pasta in it a bare minimum of 100 times the normal cooking time for that type of pasta. For example, if the prescribed cooking time for the pasta you are making is, say, 11 minutes, to cook it andante you must boil it a bare minimum of 1,100 minutes, which is 18 hours, 20 minutes.

If you’re going to cook pasta andante, use a very big pot. Fill the pot with one part pasta to ten parts water by volume. Bring the water to a boil before putting in the pasta. You should stir the pasta every few minutes, but many people understandably leave long gaps in their stirring as they tend to get bored after the first few hours. In any case, for safety’s sake, make sure you check the pot at least every half hour because you will have to add water from time to time before you’re finished to replenish the water that has boiled off so as to not melt the pot and start a fire.

The “100 times normal cooking time” is just a rule of thumb. It might take longer, but probably not less. To prepare perfect andante pasta you should stop cooking just before the pasta completely dissolves into the water. You should still be able to distinguish individual pasta strands, tubes or whatever, but only just barely. Perfect andante pasta is just a few seconds away from total mush.

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