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Old 05-08-2006, 03:00 PM   #11
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Adding the oil to the boiling water was to help prevent foam overs. If you pot started to foam up and go over the top, my mom would always add oil to remedy this. However, if you are using a deep enough pot with plenty of water, then it should not be an issue. Like GB states, it is kinda of a waste to me so I don't do it anymore.

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Old 05-08-2006, 04:35 PM   #12
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I use the oil too... it does prevent the noodles from sticking during draining...

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Old 05-08-2006, 04:45 PM   #13
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I put oil in the water, but now that I think about it, it does all just float on top. I think I'll skip it next time.
As far as boiling over goes, I boil the water on high heat, add the pasta, give it a good stir, and immediatly reduce the heat to med/high. That method works fine. I also use a good deep stockpot.

I salt the water when I put it on to boil, using about a tablespoon or so of salt (I just pour it in my hand). I heard someplace that the water should be salty...like the sea. I can tell a big difference in the taste of my pasta since I started doing that.

If you put your pasta in the water before bringing it to a boil, it will turn to mush. Trust me on this. I've made just about every cooking mistake that can be made over the years.
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:03 PM   #14
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Satie hit the nail right on the head. Teh same thing is done when boiling maple sap down into syrup. When the liquid begins to boil over, you add fresh butter (fat) to the syrup to settle things down.

But this can also be done by properly regulating the heat. So oil is not required. I like to drain my pasta and add either Carapelli EVOO or Truffle Oil to the pot and stir. This adds a wonderful flavor to the pasta (epecially the truffle oil) and compliments the tomato or parmesano, or mushroom sauce that is used at the table.

Just remember that with pasta, you can add most any flavor you want. Don't limit yourself. Try it with a stroganoff mixture, or with sweet and sour pork, or with a smoky sausage. It's great with a host of cheeses, or just with some flavorful butter. You can add peppers, both hot and/or sweet, onion, pesto, stir-fry veggies, etc. Pasta is so versatile. And try the whole grain varieties. At first, the mouthfeel and taste will be strange. But after a few servings, you get very used to it and it becomes the preferred pasta, as the flavor is richer, with interesting textures, some very smooth, and some more coarse, depending on the brand you purchase.

As for the hot/cold water issue. I always get the pot boiling first. Then, I place my pasta in the pan. If the pan is too small to hold, say long strands of linguini, I place one end in and let it cook for about 20 seconds. Then, I carefully push the exposed pasta downward as the immersed portion becomes flexible. This method also elliminates sticking as the pressure used to push the pasta into the water seperates the individual strands. And yes, it does have to be cooked in enough water to allow the pasta to move around as it cooks.

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Old 05-08-2006, 05:43 PM   #15
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I always say the water should be as salty as the ocean if not your pasta will be really bland.
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jpmcgrew
I always say the water should be as salty as the ocean if not your pasta will be really bland.

Thanks for your responses everyone! I now can give dh not only the rundown of cooking pasta but be able to answer his questions too.
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Old 05-09-2006, 07:54 AM   #17
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A friend of mine told me years ago how to make pasta and it works great.
Pan lg enough to hold the pasta, bring water to a boil and add salt. Add your pasta, stir and bring to a boil again and then Turn OFF the heat and cover. Let stand about 15 or 20 min. and the pasta will be done just right. Never sticks.This works for all pastas.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:12 PM   #18
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Tumpershere, doing so, pasta doesn't cook, becomes only tender. And it's better to cook pasta, in order to get it more digestible. From 8 minutes (spaghetti) to 12 (maccheroni), in boiling water. And fresh pasta is ready when is up on water surface: one minute, max two.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:42 AM   #19
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as to the amount of water:
what I learned is to use 1 litre of water for 100g Pasta..
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:08 AM   #20
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No oil, use butter... or not. Your choice of course, but I think it add flavor. So, why does the instruction for making rice say add butter?

But so far no mention of salt.

I always add salt to the boiling pasta water, but not before it boils. Pasta needs seasoning.

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