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A guide to Italian pasta: the myths

August 16, 2011

Ok, so, I’ve noticed there are a lot of theories and ideas bouncing around about pasta and how to cook it properly. Some of it are plain ridiculous, but the others actually sound like they make sense. Well, to us amateur chefs at least. So, here is the first myth we are about to tackle:

Myth: You should add olive oil to cooking water to prevent the pasta from sticking. I have to admit that I have personally believe in this one for quite some time, before I started reading and learning a bit more about the fine art of pasta cooking. And here is what I found out:


Lesser-quality pastas tend to stick and clump. So it is possible that the idea of adding olive oil to cooking water came about in order to prevent pasta from sticking. But what you should know is that good-quality pasta should never stick or clump. Using olive oil is purely a waste of good oil, because it is thrown away the cooking water anyway. Also, a little bit of cooking water is usually reserved to help bind the sauce with the pasta. By adding olive oil, the binding quality of the starches released in the water is basically ruined by the slippery quality of the olive oil.

So, remember-buy better pasta, save money on the olive oil!

Buon appetito!

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