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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93
votes
9answers
40k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
54
votes
24answers
129k 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)? ...
48
votes
25answers
111k 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.
29
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
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
7answers
14k views

Can I boil pasta in a pasta sauce?

Is it ok to boil pasta in pan with a pasta sauce? Is there any reason to boil pasta separately (and then add the sauce)?
24
votes
5answers
23k 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?
21
votes
9answers
24k 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
9answers
12k views

How should one go about reheating pasta?

Ok, so, I know the answer, "You shouldn't, because it's easy to make it fresh." But on occasion, I end up making too much pasta, not having enough sauce, etc. and the pasta gets stowed in a ...
16
votes
9answers
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?
15
votes
12answers
48k 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
6k 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. ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is my mac 'n' cheese grainy?

I need to make a large batch (to serve 30) of mac 'n' cheese, and rather than bothering with my standard roux - cheese sauce, I thought maybe I could cheat with a short cut. I dug up an old recipe ...
13
votes
1answer
447 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
15k 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. ...
12
votes
9answers
32k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
12k views

Pouring cold water on pasta after cooking it

Some of my friends pour cold water on pasta after boiling it other don't. What do the professionals do? If they pour cold water on the pasta after the boil, what do they want to accomplish with doing ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

How to substitute eggs in homemade pasta?

I am looking to make pasta at home, but all the classical pasta dough recipes I know of are egg-based. While I have no problem with eating meat and animal products from time to time, I would like to ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Gnocchi - best fluffy technique

What is the best way to ensure prepared gnocchi is light and fluffy, not lumpy and soggy? I've seen tips saying to use more flour, to use less, to add ricotta cheese, to air dry...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

When cooking pasta in salted water how much of the salt is absorbed?

Most chefs recommend that you should add quite a bit of salt to boiling water which you cook pasta in (sometimes 1 teaspoon). For those watching their sodium intake, how much of this salt will ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I stop homemade Ravioli from going soggy? (storage issue)

Last week I made some Pumpkin Ravioli. The filling was a bit moist, but nothing excessive. The problem is, that obviously, I don't want to be stuffing ravioli immediately before they go into the ...
10
votes
6answers
31k views

What causes a tomato sauce to have a bitterness and getting rid of it?

My tomato sauce is coming out great, lots of flavor, especially after I was able to reduce it following the tips here However, it is still slightly bitter. What causes a tomato sauce to have a (in ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there an authoritative source on whether salt affects pasta stickiness?

The Seasoned Advice answer to Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta? is that it makes the pasta less sticky by inhibiting starch gelation. This seems to be a controversial question, with lots ...
10
votes
4answers
822 views

How to mix a spaghetti carbonara?

When cooking spaghetti carbonara, I mix the pasta, bacon, cheese and egg yolks together with a scoop. This technique frequently results in mashed spaghetti as well as bacon clustering. What could I ...
10
votes
2answers
574 views

Can anybody help make homemade pasta foolproof?

I can't even count the number of times that I have followed recipes for pasta using a food processor, only to discover that no matter the care I took with the measurements, my dough was just a bit too ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I preserve fresh potato gnocchi by drying it?

I have a lot of potatoes to use, and I am making a large batch of Gnocchi. I plan to freeze much of it, but I was wondering if it's also possible to dry the fresh Gnocchi and store in a sealed ...
10
votes
2answers
574 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
130k 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?
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What are some good reasons for why people make homemade pasta?

What are some good reasons for people to make their own pasta? Does it make it cheaper? Does it taste any better?
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How much water does pasta absorb when it is cooked?

How much water will dry semolina pasta absorb when it is properly cooked? For example, how much water would one pound of farfalle or spaghetti absorb? I am guessing the shape of the pasta doesn't ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is Spaetzle a pasta or a dumpling?

Is it a pasta or a dumpling and what is the difference? To me, a pasta is smooth and shaped and doesn't have any "filling" (but can have ingredients added to color or flavor it before it is shaped) ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
809 views

How to store homemade pasta

When I prepare homemade egg pasta (tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti, etc), which is the better way to store it? I used to keep it in a cotton cloth, but sometimes it becomes moldy.
8
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the advantages of homemade pasta over store-bought?

I am thinking about getting a pasta maker. Of course it takes more time to make your own pasta but it seems like it would be fun and nutritious. What are the real advantages to making your own pasta ...
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
580 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is It Possible to Make Elbow Pasta At Home?

I love making egg, semolina, and wheat pasta at home, but my home pasta maker (a KitchenAid attachment with a roller and two cutter blades) does only basic fettucini and spaghetti shapes plus whatever ...
7
votes
9answers
8k views

Is there a faster/less messy way to stuff manicotti/canneloni?

I've had all the ingredients for stuffed manicotti sitting around in my kitchen for the past 2 days but keep putting it off because I absolutely dread the whole stuffing process. I usually start off ...
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/ ...
7
votes
9answers
714 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
29k views

Cooking pasta in the microwave

I have a microwave "pot" that I use for steaming vegetables. The instructions say it can also be used for cooking pasta, which seems sacrilege to me. Does anybody know if the result would be a good al ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

Heating meatballs in pasta sauce

I made meatballs yesterday in the oven and I'm going to add them to pasta sauce tonight to heat them up and add them to spaghetti. My question is how long should I boil the meatballs for in the sauce ...
7
votes
4answers
895 views

What Old World Europe countries (apart from Germany and Italy) have their own unique pasta traditions?

I was doing some research on websites and came upon a site where a German pasta company had been trying to sell their products into the US (the site is down, looks like the enterprise was not ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Do I need to cook the meat filling before stuffing ravioli?

I been making ravioli this past week (3 types, butternut squash, various fungi, and spinach for those interested). Now I'm onto the meat. Its a pork, beef, and veal mixture. My question is, do I ...
7
votes
1answer
878 views

My toasted couscous didn't soften properly. Why?

My wife bought some toasted Israeli couscous at a specialty store recently, and we decided to cook it last night. Unfortunately, it did not seem to cook like we are used to, and some of it was still ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the best pasta, and cooking approach, for making pasta salad?

I love the pasta salad you can buy in shops and would love to be able to make something comparable. The part that I love the most is the dense, thick pasta that comes in these salads. When I try to ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

What should I look for when buying a pasta roller?

I'm looking to buy a pasta roller but I have no experience with them at all. What things should I look for to make sure I get a good one? Can they be made of different materials? Are there ...
7
votes
6answers
34k views

How to deal with “no precooking required” lasagne sheets?

I've always been a bit suspicious of "no-precooking-required" lasagne sheets. Are they inferior to the traditional kind? Also, are they improved if you ignore the instruction and cook them a little ...
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 ...