Questions about the make, manufacture, preparation, and cooking of all types of pasta, including traditional durum wheat, whole wheat, and gluten-free.

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54
votes
25answers
136k views

How can I keep pasta from sticking to itself?

Whenever I boil pasta (specifically spaghetti), it always sticks to itself before I'm ready to use it. What can I do to avoid this without it becoming mushy (which happens if I keep it in the water)? ...
93
votes
9answers
41k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
28
votes
5answers
6k views

Pasta: Simmering Water or Rolling Boil?

I recently got into a surprisingly heated argument with a friend about what level of boil you should cook your pasta at. He (an engineer) argued that the heat transfer would remain the same regardless ...
24
votes
5answers
24k views

What is the correct water to pasta ratio?

I have heard one should use a lot of water when cooking pasta; how much water should I use?
29
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
12
votes
9answers
34k views

What's the best way to tell that pasta is done (when boiling)?

I've tried a number of different ways to tell when spaghetti, capellini and other pasta types are done, but I'm curious if there are more specific rules of thumb. With regular spaghetti, I've tried ...
13
votes
1answer
452 views

What makes a pasta shape pair with a sauce?

Spaghetti goes well with tomato sauce with ground meat. Fettucini goes well with a creamy sauce. Why? What general principles about the characteristics of the pasta and the sauce make them work well ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

What ingredients can be added to pasta to give a different color?

I've experimented with fresh pasta, using the following ingredients to color it: Beetroot puree Carrot puree Cocoa powder The first two were successful, the cocoa poweder resulted in a very ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Types of potato for making gnocchi

I've made gnocchi with different types of potato with mixed result. Can anyone recommend a type that is particularly good for making gnocchi?
13
votes
3answers
16k views

What does al dente really mean?

Initially I was told that al dente meant that the pasta was cooked but still firm, definitely not soggy or overcooked. Later, someone told me that it meant not quite cooked all the way through. ...
7
votes
9answers
729 views

Additional ingredients to homemade pasta? [closed]

I would like to make interesting, unusual home-made pasta. I am looking for ideas on what to add to the pasta dough to add colour and taste (especially taste). Well-known additions include: puréed ...
11
votes
6answers
136k views

How long does cooked pasta last in the fridge?

I sometimes cook more pasta than I intend to eat or use at once and store the rest in a container in the fridge (just plain, cooked pasta). How long would it store safely for?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do different pasta shapes taste different?

I've noticed that even when I buy two different pasta shapes of the same brand (and so presumably the exact same recipe), they still taste subtly different, to the point that I consistently prefer the ...
21
votes
9answers
25k views

What's the numbering system for spaghetti and does it matter?

When I lived in Italy some years ago I remember an Italian friend explaining the numbering system for spaghetti (perhaps also other long pasta). How spaghetti was sold in Italy with a number ...
18
votes
10answers
17k views

Why add pasta water to pasta sauce?

I've noticed that many Italian chefs add to their pasta sauces some of the water they used to cook their pasta. What is the purpose of this?
9
votes
14answers
2k views

Cheeses for pastas, off the beaten path

I'm looking for some cheese recommendations to serve grated or shredded over pasta. However I'd like to get away from the obvious ones that everybody knows, such as parmesan, mozarella, ricotta, or ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Why does my homemade pasta stick to itself whilst cooking?

I make a fair amount of homemade pasta (Mostly Tagliatelle or Linguine), and I tend to cook it fresh, rather than drying it and cooking from dry; however, it tends to clump and stick together in the ...
48
votes
25answers
116k views

In a tomato sauce recipe, how can I cut the acidity?

It seems that every time I make a tomato sauce for pasta, the sauce is a little bit too acid for my taste. I've tried using sugar or sodium bicarbonate, but I'm not satisfied with the results.
15
votes
12answers
50k views

How long should I cook pasta sauce?

I recently made pasta sauce, and every couple of minutes decided to add something more... More tomatoes, more pepper, more garlic... After that I let it sit on a small flame for a bit more. As a ...
15
votes
6answers
7k views

(How) can I prevent pasta water from boiling over with the lid closed?

I always cook pasta with the lid of the pot open, because otherwise foam starts to build up and eventually boils over, maikng a huge mess. I would prefer to keep the lid on for energy saving purposes. ...
10
votes
2answers
575 views

How to prepare gnocchi dough for mixed ingredients?

After reading a recent post on incorporating vegetables into gnocchi (and presumably of potato/flour based pastas), I tried my own mixture of veggies and it came out great. Here is where the ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

How much water to put in my pasta pot?

My pasta pot/steamer did not come with directions telling me how full to make it. It seems to boil over or not have enough water to cover the pasta. It is a large pot with the pasta strainer ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

What kind of olive oil should I use?

When you cook pasta, something you have to mix the pasta in the pan with olive oil and various ingredients. For example, in this recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/spaghetti-cacio-e-pepe/ ...
3
votes
2answers
538 views

Will adding lemon juice to non-wheat pastas make them starchier?

I read in this question: http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/2574/why-add-salt-to-the-water-when-cooking-pasta that adding an acid like lemon juice to water you're cooking pasta in will help ...
3
votes
8answers
836 views

Which is a typically American way of seasoning spaghetti and other pasta?

When I visit the States I see a lot of pasta and spaghetti in the supermarkets. I wonder which is the typical seasoning (sauce or similar) used by Americans when they cook spaghetti. Of course, when ...
8
votes
4answers
584 views

Saving pasta water

When making pasta, I often use small amounts of pasta water as an addition to sautes or to lengthen sauces. I have thought of saving more of the pasta water to refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days, ...
6
votes
3answers
274 views

How do I tell if my pasta is molto al dente?

I cooked pasta tonight for my families dinner, and cooked it "al dente" then cooked it in the sauce. Surprise surprise it was overdone. So I looked it up and apparently it needs to be "molto al ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How to prevent Orecchiette from sticking to each other while cooking? How to separate in water?

This shape of pasta easily nests inside each other. A lot of times if you just pour it directly from the bag/box into boiling water, you will get stacks of them together. Once they are cooking this ...
6
votes
3answers
22k views

What is 00 flour and when should I use?

I've made pasta before using 00 flour. I was about to use the same thing to make gnocci but I've noticed that none of the gnocci recipes mention the "00". Does it make a difference? Is one better then ...
6
votes
3answers
392 views

Are commercial foods adjusted for integer cooking times?

Pasta, noodles and such foods are often labeled "cook for n minutes". Are the ingredients for these foods purposefully balanced such that the average optimal cooking time is integer? Of course the ...
5
votes
6answers
10k views

Could rice or pasta be cooked without hot water?

I moved in a brand new house. I have no stove, microwaves or hot water for a week or two. I'm vegetarian and I've already prepared fresh veggies wrap, salad, hummus, sandwichs, .. but I'm wondering ...
4
votes
1answer
849 views

Does adding oil to pasta water reduce the tendency to boil over?

I know that adding oil to pasta water doesn't keep the noodles from sticking--much better to do that after cooking. I also know that there's no need to cook pasta at a rolling boil. My question is ...
3
votes
0answers
170 views

How do I keep fettucini from sticking together while boiling it [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I keep pasta from sticking to itself? I have tried to add vegetable oil to the water. I have tried stirring while boiling. Is there a better technique?
3
votes
3answers
371 views

Pasta preservation

I have some extra pasta, cooked. I have no extra sauce to put the pasta in. What's the best way to preserve it so it lasts for a day or hopefully two without getting dry or rotten?
2
votes
3answers
266 views

Preparing spaghetti without boiling water

I saw a commercial on televison for preparing spaghetti without boiling the noodles, just place them in water for about on hour. Can this be done?
2
votes
1answer
453 views

Masa Harina and a pasta roller?

I've got most of a 5 pound bag of masa harina left from a semi-successful foray into the world of tamales. Recently I've really enjoyed my pasta roller. It got me thinking. Is there some way I could ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Best moment to put salt in spaghetti?

Different friends have conflicting theories about the best moment to pour salt into spaghettis: Before putting the spaghettis, so that the salt infiltrates inside the spaghetti. Just a bit before ...
2
votes
5answers
704 views

Can water in which pasta was cooked be used to make gravy?

After boiling pasta and setting the water in which the pasta was boiled aside I noticed that after the water cooled it thickened. It sort of has the consistency of gravy. Would I be able to make gravy ...
1
vote
2answers
178 views

How to properly prepare a weeks worth of pasta and microwave it at work

I've been making a pound of pasta on Sunday and eating for lunch at work throughout the week, where we just have a microwave. The first time I did this, I cooked a jar of pasta sauce and combined ...