I was wondering if I should estimate the amount of salt I need proportionally to the volume of water or to the amount of pasta?

  • It doesn't matter, really, as long as you don't put too much salt in it. Salt doesn't make any difference, really, flavor from the pasta comes from sauce. – user3528438 Dec 23 '19 at 18:16
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    @user3528438, you're quite mistaken. The only opportunity one has to flavour pasta is during the boil. Pasta not salted during the boil is always bland, while that boiled with some salt has a brighter taste. – NothingToSeeHere Dec 24 '19 at 12:59
  • Maybe it is an uncertain or un-empiric comment, but to several italian cheffs I have asked, I've heard 1L of water per pasta serving (to let the pasta cook "loose"), and 1TableSpoon of salt per liter... – M.K Jan 21 at 10:48

The water....but no need to be super precise. You should be able to taste the salt. Under or unsalted pasta water results in a flat tasting pasta. However, it is possible to over salt the water, resulting in over-salted pasta.

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  • I know I can taste it, that's how I can estimate if I should put more or less salt. I was wondering what to estimate against. And of course this is not hard science :) – user42 Dec 23 '19 at 15:15
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    @user42 The ratio of water to salt is what affects the taste. The amount of pasta isn't important. – logophobe Dec 23 '19 at 15:32
  • That was what I was looking for, many thanks! – user42 Dec 23 '19 at 16:21

On average, about 3.5% by weight. That's 35 grams of salt in a liter of water or 1 tablespoon salt to 2 quarts (8 cups) water.

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  • Sometime in the past I heard that pasta water should have the same salinity as the Mediterranean. From what I've read, that may be a tad too much, though. – Tim Nevins Dec 24 '19 at 13:59
  • Salt can be hard on your cookware, and on your body, so I would agree that constraint is recommended. – Matthew K Dec 25 '19 at 17:47

You don't even need to salt the water if you use Parmesan Cheese or an already salt sauche. If you want to salt the water just put a teaspoon of salt for each liter of water.

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    You should always salt the water, even if the sauce also has salt. – Luciano Jan 21 at 11:23
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    @Luciano I disagree. That's could result in a really salty pasta. I tried many times and if you avoid to always salt the water the pasta taste better. Of course that also depends on your personal taste, I usually don't like to cover the taste with salt. – LiefLayer Jan 21 at 11:35
  • You don't need to cover everything with a salt crust; adjust amounts properly. Salt the pasta just enough to enhance the flavor, add less on the sauce to compensate. – Luciano Jan 21 at 12:18
  • @Luciano As I said, it also depends a lot on personal tastes. I find that using the natural salt of the sauces is often more effective than salting the water (the taste is more natural, the real taste of the pasta feels very good). But I do not say that it is wrong to salt the water in moderation (about a teaspoon per liter). I simply prefer it differently. – LiefLayer Jan 21 at 13:31
  • I'm a big fan of parmesan, but I always salt the the water nonetheless. Espcially when cooking raviolis. – user42 Jan 21 at 13:50

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