The exterior of an Olive Garden restaurant.
Why You Won't See Al Dente Pasta At Olive Garden
By Chase Shustack
Olive Garden doesn't necessarily follow all of Italy's traditional cooking methods. For example, Olive Garden won't serve its pasta "al dente," even if you were to request it.
The term "al dente" is defined as cooking pasta to a slightly underdone texture so that when you bite down, the pasta keeps its shape instead of turning into overcooked mush.
Italians may prefer their pasta this way, but Americans aren't as strict about how it is cooked and shy away from al dente, which is why Olive Garden doesn't offer it.
Instead, Olive Garden cooks its pasta a little longer, boiling it for about one minute more than required to ensure it is soft and tender rather than deliberately undercooking it.
Also, cooking the pasta one way keeps everything running smoothly, meaning employees don't have to spend time trying to cook every order to the customer's specifications.