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Old 08-09-2007, 09:48 AM   #21
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You must stir the pasta right after it goes into the boiling water to keep it from sticking together. That's really important, as well as having enough water in a large enough pot.
I taste the pasta when I think it might be done. I like it to be just tender, but still firm. Look at the directions on the package for the suggested cooking time, and start checking your pasta a minute or two before that time is up.
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DramaQueen
Never add oil to pasta water. Italians never do because it makes the pasta slippery and unable to "hold" the sauce.
This is not really correct. Adding oil to the drained pasta will make the sauce slip off, but adding it to the pasta water will not.

Oil and water do not mix. When you add oil to the cooking water the oil just floats on top and never really comes into contact with the pasta. Then when you drain the water since the oil is floating on top it is the first to go. Adding oil to pasta cooking water does nothing for the pasta itself. What it will do is break the surface tension so bubbles will not form as easily. Bubbles should not be an issue though if you are using a large enough pot.
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Old 08-09-2007, 01:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DramaQueen
Italian made pasta is made wth a different flour than we can get here in the U.S. and it makes a much better pasta.
How's that ?
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:23 PM   #24
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I agree with everything that GB has said. Use enough water (I use an 8qt pot filled with 4-5qts for 8oz of dry pasta). The water is always salted to season the pasta. If you use enough water you usually don't have to add any oil to the water to keep the bubbles down either - as the starch concentration is very low. I drain the pasta (reserving a bit of the cooking liquid) while the pasta is a bit underdone (a bit tougher than al dente), and then finish the cooking in the sauce with a bit of the cooking water (the cooking water also reduces and the small amount of starch actually thickens and binds the sauce a bit to the pasta - almost like a bridge - it also seasons the sauce as it has salt in it). This also allows the pasta to absorb a bit of the sauce creating a higher degree of cohesiveness in the final dish.

Practice with "aglio e olio" recipes - simple, addictive when done right, and a perfect means of practicing the fundamental skills of great dry pasta dishes.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Oil and water do not mix. When you add oil to the cooking water the oil just floats on top and never really comes into contact with the pasta. Then when you drain the water since the oil is floating on top it is the first to go. Adding oil to pasta cooking water does nothing for the pasta itself. What it will do is break the surface tension so bubbles will not form as easily. Bubbles should not be an issue though if you are using a large enough pot.
Is THAT what it is for???? My mom, not much of a cook (bless her heart!), used to add oil to her spaghetti water, but she thought it would keep the noodles from sticking. I tried it once when I first moved out on my own and noticed the oil just sat on the top (as expected) while the pasta stayed on the bottom. I figured it was an old wives tale that served no purpose!

Iíve never had pasta water bubble up on me, but I do have it happen from time to time with rice.....depending on how I cook the rice. If Iím in a hurry and donít feel like messing with it, I boil a cup of rice in 4-6 cups of water in a small pot, then drain the rice in a colander (same way I cook potatoes). When the heat is high, it will often ďfoam upĒ, so I blow on it and it goes back down, and then I turn the heat down a bit.

I wonder if adding oil to the rice water would stop this from happening? Interesting!
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:59 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin

I wonder if adding oil to the rice water would stop this from happening? Interesting!
It sure would. And it does not take much either. Just a little bit will do the trick.
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:04 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
It sure would. And it does not take much either. Just a little bit will do the trick.

Thanks! Iím definitely going to try that next time I cook rice that way!
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:10 PM   #28
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It sure would. And it does not take much either. Just a little bit will do the trick.
Would this work for potatoes, too?
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:12 PM   #29
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Yep. It would work for anything where starch in the water is causing bubbles.
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:14 PM   #30
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Yep. It would work for anything where starch in the water is causing bubbles.
WooHoo! Thanks GB! My family loves mashed potatoes but it always seems to bubble up and boil over and I hate cleaning the mess. This will be great!
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