As an Italian living abroad, I have decided to give a detailed answer to the question I have been asked several times: “how can Italians not be fat if they eat pasta?”
Ready to go?
Common belief: Eating pasta makes you fat.
Wrong. In Italy pasta is typically cooked “al dente” – cooked to be firm on the bite, not soft – even if there are regions, like Sicily, where pasta is normally cooked a couple of minutes more. I’m from Campania, a region where you can find the best grades available and with a great tradition of pasta making. In particular, I come from Naples, where pasta has to be cooked al dente if you do not want your guests to refuse to eat the primo (first course).
So why do we cook it al dente? Is it only because we hate the feeling of soft pasta? Mostly.
But let’s try to be specific here: pasta “al dente” is easier to digest since the assimilation of the gluten is more gradual compared to “well-cooked pasta”, which means the carbs in it do not make your belly fat. But they do with an overcooked pasta, too difficult to digest or even chew.
In addition, Italians tend to eat pasta for lunch, rather than for dinner, and they have the whole day to burn those carbs!
DO’S: remember to cook your pasta “al dente” and find the best brands: the quality of the wheat is crucial when you want a pasta that stays firm after cooking and does not turn soft.
DONT’S: try not to eat pasta after 6pm. After 6pm if gets way harder to burn carbs.
Andiamo a cucinare!