63 votes
Accepted

Test if two foods are the same

The best approach is to use a triangle test. This would be the standard used in sensory sciences. It is easy, and it will be a fun thing to do with friends. Basically, each friend (panelist) is ...
moscafj's user avatar
  • 74.9k
63 votes

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

Assuming these are open packets that have been open for a while - you probably have a mite infestation, probably the flour mite (Acarus siro), or a closely related mite. These are tiny almost-...
bob1's user avatar
  • 15k
61 votes

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

Poorly. Pasta doesn't absorb all that much flavor from spices in the water, other than maybe salt (and even then you must add excessive amounts of salt to make the resulting pasta evidently salty.) ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 3,023
48 votes
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I never succeed in thickening sauces with pasta water. What am I doing wrong?

You seem to have the wrong expectations. No, it will never be as thickening as a cornstarch slurry. If that's the level of thickening you expect, you are really better off using the slurry. Don't ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 139k
40 votes

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

If we're talking about the big classic pesto alla genovese, then unfortunately... There is no substitute. Basil is the majority ingredient in pesto. None of the other suggestions here will taste even ...
J...'s user avatar
  • 952
38 votes

Should pasta be started in cold or boiling water?

As stated in another answer, Italian tradition is that all pasta is cooked in boiling water. A reasonable explanation for this usage is that it's easier to get the time right this way. Pasta is very ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

Should pasta be started in cold or boiling water?

For dried pasta it doesn’t really matter if you start with cold or hot water, as most of the time pasta spends in water is for hydration. And once the hydrated starches reach a certain temperature ...
zetaprime's user avatar
  • 4,276
32 votes
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What's a good substitute for basil in pesto sauce?

The good news is, you can make pesto almost out of any green using the same process and proportions as with basil -- it just changes the flavor profile. I make pesto-style sauces out of chives, ...
franko's user avatar
  • 5,966
31 votes

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

One important fact to note here is that many spices are oils or oil-soluble. Pepper, for example, will dissolve effectively in oil, and thus the flavor of pepper can be imparted into other things ...
Joe M's user avatar
  • 5,663
31 votes

Cooking pasta in a water boiler

Advantages: You can make pasta in your water boiler. Disadvantages: Hard to clean. Waste of energy, a water boiler is on or off, it will expend full energy keeping the water boiling. Incredibly ...
Pieter B's user avatar
  • 1,004
29 votes
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Can I slow cook noodles?

If by “noodles“ you mean pasta that comes in the dry form with or without eggs, then yes, you can make that in the slow cooker. There is one caveat though: other than your meat, which won’t be ...
Stephie's user avatar
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29 votes
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Does traditional Pesto Genovese contain garlic?

According to the CONSORZIO DEL PESTO GENOVESE, which defines what is considered official Pesto Genovese, it does contain garlic. They suggest that traditionally it contained less garlic than the ...
Joe M's user avatar
  • 5,663
27 votes
Accepted

Does squid ink pasta bleed?

No, as far as I know pasta made with squid ink, often called nero di seppia, should be stable, and the ink doesn't normally bleed. From my experience after boiling black pasta, even the fresh kind, ...
Duarte Farrajota Ramos's user avatar
26 votes
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Cold / cooked pasta safe to eat?

According to Still Tasty, a site that utilizes FDA, CDC and USDA data, cooked pasta should be fine for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Use a shallow container or a Ziplock bag to store the pasta, and ...
Jolenealaska's user avatar
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23 votes
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Double cooked pasta

It's par-cooking the pasta, cooling it down (typically an ice water bath), so that when a customer orders, they can significantly reduce the time needed to get the dish prepared for them. Yes Boiling ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 80.7k
23 votes

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

The secrets to a good pasta bake are: Pick the right pasta: unless you are making Lasagna, tube shaped pasta is the best choice because it holds sauce, and tends to be thicker. Thicker pasta is ...
GdD's user avatar
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22 votes
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Is the foam on pasta water significantly more starchy than the rest of the water?

Yes, that foam is mostly starch. However, for traditional pasta sauces you don't want only that foam for your sauce. You're emulsifying the sauce with starch and water, so you want at least some of ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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21 votes
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How well does it work to just throw in all the ingredients and boil?

Ah, One Pot Pasta.... As loads of bloggers, authors and cooks - possibly inspired by Martha Stewart and her team - have confirmed: dumping the pasta, sauce ingredients and a carefully meassured ...
Stephie's user avatar
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20 votes
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Good salt:water ratio when boiling pasta

More is not necessarily better, but no salt leads to a bland final dish. Some folks are fond of saying "as salty as the sea." This sounds romantic, but probably has no basis. Pasta water, ...
moscafj's user avatar
  • 74.9k
19 votes

How to prevent the lasagne filling from sliding out?

Time...lasagna needs to allowed to rest for a while before serving. At least an hour. If you try to serve it straight out of the oven it will slide all over on you. Time will allow the cheeses and ...
Cos Callis's user avatar
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19 votes
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How long can I hold spätzle in ice water or drained?

I would not keep them in water; they will absorb water and get soggy. I'd just drain them and toss them with a little bit of oil, just enough so that they will not stick together and put them in the ...
Max's user avatar
  • 20.4k
19 votes

Can you replace red wine with apera/sherry in a ragout sauce for lasagne?

Because the other answers feel awfully prescriptivist to me, and I hate prescriptivist cooking, let me give a definitive Yes. You can absolutely substitute a sherry (fortified wine) for red wine in ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
18 votes
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What is the benefit of a pasta pot with an inset?

The pot at the top with the holes in the lid allows you to drain the pasta without a colander or second container, so you have one less thing to clean. In my experience it's sometimes hard to get the ...
Uncle Long Hair's user avatar
18 votes

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

I find these gadgets inconvenient, so, I would say no real advantage. I cook pasta in a large stock pot, and remove with a spider to the pan with the condiments. I can even cook several batches in a ...
moscafj's user avatar
  • 74.9k
18 votes
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Processed cheese in pesto

Processed cheese isn't a good replacement for parmesan, it's generally too soft from added oils, and it doesn't have the right flavor. Instead, add more pine nuts, and salt to taste, leaving the ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 76.2k
17 votes

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

Think of your pasta water as a tool for emulsification, rather than "thickening." Adding pasta water to your condiment pan has the benefit of helping the condiment form an emulsified sauce that ...
moscafj's user avatar
  • 74.9k
16 votes

Can you make pasta dough in a breadmaker?

No. Pasta dough is much firmer than bread dough and could possibly break the machine or the blade.
Rob's user avatar
  • 2,182
16 votes

Pasta Bar for 250 people

You would end up going through a lot of gallon bags, so I wouldn’t recommend that. If you were going to take that approach, I would suggest instead using deep hotel pans, undercook the pasta slightly,...
Joe's user avatar
  • 80.7k
15 votes
Accepted

What is the optimal method for making box macaroni and cheese?

The 4th version you gave is optimal from a chemistry standpoint; the process of using heat to melt a soft fat and dissolve a powder into a liquid by stirring is going to be at it's most efficient when ...
Barkode's user avatar
  • 558
15 votes

How to make Kraft Mac and Cheese Like Ihop

Based on the nutritional information provided by Kraft and iHop, a good place to start would be more salt and more butter. A standard Kraft recipe is 360 Calories with 12 grams of fat and 710 mg of ...
eps's user avatar
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