Pasta water

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by vvaannmmaann, Jun 8, 2012.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Add oil or not? Does it actually make any difference?
  2. Yes it does. You can add a small amount of oil, or salt. I use salt.
  3. Or drain the cooked pasta and toss it in a smidgen of really good olive oil
  4. I assume the OP is asking about adding it to the cooking water to stop the pasta sticking.
  5. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    Only works properly if you keep it stirred in.
  6. I use both, although it's more force of habit than if it actually works.

    I only use Wholemeal Pasta so it tends to stick less than the starchy white shite anyway
  7. A little virgin olive oil works well.
  8. Dirty old man.
  9. All of the molecular gastonomists will tell you that lots of water and a little salt is the way to go, I have never found that it makes a difference. I like to bung in a couple of stock cubes into the water that I'm cooking the pasta in. unless I have bothered to take the time to make the pasta, then it is just salt and water.
  10. Always understood it as the salt in the water allows the pasta to be properly seasoned, oil for stopping it sticking. I like to do both, sometimes I toss in oil after cooking as well.
  11. Salting the water properly makes a huge difference. It increases the boiling temp substantially (remember your physics lessons at school?!!) and if the right amount of salt is added it seasons the pasta nicely.

    By the right amount, the advice from Mr R.Stein is to add more salt than you think you should add. And then double it.

    It may be a myth but I heard somewhere that Rick Stein sometimes uses seawater to boil the pasta in.

    As for the oil - adding it to the water whilst cooking doesn't make any difference (again, remember physics - viscosity of liquids) as it just stays on the top. Even if you stir it, it will still rise to the top. Laws of physics.

    Adding a little oil to the drained pasta (and retaining a wee bit of the pasta liquid) however will stop it sticking and give it a nice sheen.

    Just my two-pence worth like.
  12. Negligent-Discharge

    Negligent-Discharge LE Book Reviewer

    Fixed that for free for you as I'm in a good mood.
  13. I don't take any chances and deep fry my pasta in lard.
    • Like Like x 4
  14. I use salt but no oil during cooking. If you use a big enough pan to give the pasta space to move while cooking and keep the water at a good boil it won't (or shouldn't) clump - 'crowded' pasta which has been simmered don't work too well.

    After draining I throw the pasta back in the pan and add a little oil or, if it's that sort of dish, a little sauce and give it a stir to coat - residual heat of pan helps drive off any remaining water. I've been told both that oil/sauce helps lubricate the pasta and prevent sticking and that mixing in a little sauce at this stage helps the bulk of the sauce cling to the pasta when served up ...
  15. Perhaps I should have explained more clearly.I was wondering if the addition of oil to the cooking water stops the pasta sticking to the pan?
    Maybe I'll try both and see which works.