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A guide to Italian pasta: the myths

August 23, 2011

Here is another myth that has been confusing amateur chefs around the world, I’m sure. It sort of makes sense, but when you think about it… Here it is:

Myth: you should always rinse pasta in cold water after cooking.

Truth:

When pasta cooks, it releases its natural starches into the cooking water. These starches complement the pasta meal because they help “bind” the sauce used, and allow the sauce to adhere better to the pasta. If you want your pasta and your sauce to get alone nicely together, do not rinse your pasta after cooking. However, there is an exception to this one: when preparing pasta salads. In this case, you should use cold water to rinse to prevent your pasta from overcooking. As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, pasta continues cooking even when out of the pot and boiling water. That’s why some Italian chefs always undercook it by 3 minutes, (that and because they sauté it with the sauce for a minute or two) Rinsing the pasta in cold water will stop the cooking process in it’s tracks. Good for cold pasta salads, bad for hot pasta with sauce.

Hope this was helpful, buon appetito!

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