Questions tagged [pasta]

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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168
votes
11answers
142k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
81
votes
31answers
445k 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)? ...
68
votes
28answers
532k 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.
45
votes
7answers
20k 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 ...
44
votes
8answers
19k views

If you add spices to boiling pasta, will it absorb spices/flavours?

If you are cooking pasta via simmering, and you add some spices e.g. pepper to the pot, will the pasta absorb the spices/flavors or will the spices just go to the top of the pot and not really get ...
44
votes
8answers
24k views

Pasta: is simmering equivalent to roiling 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 ...
37
votes
5answers
28k views

Should pasta be started in cold or boiling water?

There are two main methods, either putting the strands into water already at boiling point, or putting them in cold water and then putting on the heat. Which method is the best to cook pasta? Does ...
34
votes
16answers
100k 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)?
33
votes
6answers
200k 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?
31
votes
9answers
169k 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
168k 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. ...
27
votes
1answer
8k views

What are the tiny white self-moving objects on pasta?

So, a lot of pasta I've bought lately came with some white substance. At first it looked like uncooked starch or something. But when looking closely I noticed it was MOVING ON ITS OWN. After a while ...
24
votes
5answers
7k views

Test if two foods are the same

I'm Italian, now living in the US for some months. As you may know we like pasta. I tried Barilla here, our best known pasta brand. Well.. the taste seems a little bit different to me. It is ...
24
votes
10answers
55k 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?
23
votes
17answers
235k 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
6k views

What's a good substitute for basil in pesto sauce?

I'm making some pasta at home with a pesto sauce. The recipe I'm referring to asks for some basil leaves to go along with the pine nuts in the food processor. Unfortunately, I can't find basil where I ...
22
votes
4answers
14k views

I never succeed in thickening sauces with pasta water. What am I doing wrong?

Every cook praises how starchy pasta water is great for thickening sauces and helping the sauce cling to the noodles. But no matter how much pasta water I add, it never thickens the sauce.Yesterday I ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Double cooked pasta

On my pasta package it says something like ready for double cooking and more curiously it gives cooking times of 11 min for regular (single cooking) and 5.5 / 2 min for first/second cooking when ...
21
votes
6answers
522k 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?
19
votes
1answer
74k 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 ...
18
votes
13answers
251k 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 ...
18
votes
9answers
26k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
28k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

Does squid ink pasta bleed?

Will the black color from squid ink spaghetti bleed onto other ingredients? I was recently given a package of squid ink spaghetti. I haven't used it before and I want to try something creative. I ...
17
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
16
votes
14answers
184k views

Turning regular noodles into no-boil noodles

I've been told by other that you don't need to boil the noodles for lasagna before you assemble and bake it. They claim that you can just lay them out on the pan raw and assemble as usual and the heat ...
16
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
201k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
28k 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. ...
16
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
14k views

Can I slow cook noodles?

I’m an avid user of slow cooking due to my schedule and need to budget my meals. I haven’t tried but wanted to know if I could slow cook noodles.
15
votes
7answers
94k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a way to handmake alphabet pasta?

Is there a way to handmake alphabet pasta? I want to make the small pasta the is shaped into letters that is sometimes used for alphabet soup for kids. It's usually about half a cm in length. And I ...
14
votes
6answers
3k 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?
14
votes
20answers
47k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the benefit of a pasta pot with an inset?

All my life I’ve cooked pasta in regular pots. The most fancy thing I had in regards to pasta cooking was a pot with little holes in the lid and a locking mechanism, so that you could use that to ...
14
votes
5answers
97k views

Should I use whole eggs or only yolks in Spaghetti alla Carbonara?

I tried to cook spaghetti alla carbonara and searching out I found out that some recipes use whole eggs and some only the egg yolks. Which way gives the better result?
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Does traditional Pesto Genovese contain garlic?

.. I'm hoping a native Genoan can tell me. Every recipe for Pesto Genovese I've found out there includes a fair amount of garlic. But I barely cook the sauce. I really just warm it through, tossing ...
14
votes
4answers
27k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

How well does it work to just throw in all the ingredients and boil?

I'm wondering about this recipe. It tempts me because I'm really lazy. But I'm skeptical because I've always been taught to sauté onions first, then progressively add other ingredients, starting with ...
14
votes
3answers
99k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
24k views

Can I use ocean water to cook my pasta?

It is said, that the water you use to cook pasta should be as salty as ocean water. So can I simply use ocean water to cook my pasta without adding salt to it?
13
votes
6answers
11k 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
4answers
85k views

What is the difference between noodles and pasta?

Is pasta just a fancy name for noodle? Or is pasta always an Italian style noodle? Is all pasta noodles? Or the other way around? This may be more of a language question than an actual food question.....
12
votes
5answers
7k views

How do I stop all the sauce from being absorbed and the pasta going soggy?

I have to make a pasta bake for 20 people take it to the meeting 6 hours before it will be reheated for dinner. How do I stop all the sauce from being absorbed and the pasta going soggy. Thanks ...
12
votes
6answers
20k 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 pot....
12
votes
5answers
57k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
3k 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...
12
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
77k views

How to store homemade pasta without freezing

I'm curious how to make pasta (and in this case I'm talking about say, spaghetti, angel hair, shells or lasagna noodles, no filling) and store it dry like I would find in a box at a store. I would try ...

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