When you don’t want to spend too much time behind the stove, pasta is always the easiest and fastest way to prepare a tasty and hearty meal. And then, we must admit that this transalpine dish is so tasty that some could eat it every day, if it were not so high in calories. Of course, everyone can boast of knowing how to cook spaghetti, but the majority always make the same systematic error: rinse the pasta in cold water after cooking. We explain to you, in this article, why you should no longer do it!
Of course, it is important to drain your pasta after cooking. But the debate remains as to whether to rinse them or not. Did you think until now that rinsing reduces the cooking time or avoids the unpleasant stickiness? We will prove to you that this is not necessarily the most effective method.
You don’t need to rinse the pasta after boiling
The advantage of cooking pasta is that there are all kinds, that they adapt to the most gourmet sauces and that they go well with a very wide variety of foods. In addition, they are easily found in most restaurant menus, but also in supermarkets in various forms, fresh or industrial. Of course, preparing macaroni or penne at home is the perfect solution for feeding a whole table. Hop, we put the water to boil, we immerse the pasta and after a few minutes, they are al dente and ready to use. As a bonus, they require almost no ingredients: a little salt and olive oil are enough!
Except that here we are, almost all of us have the automatic reflex of putting them under the sink while still hot. Good or bad idea? Well, according to some seasoned cooks, it’s not a good idea to leave your pasta under running cold water after it’s finished cooking. Quite simply because in this way, a thermal shock phenomenon occurs: you then remove all the starch which turns out to be very useful for the next step, i.e. when you mix them with the sauce before serving them at the table. Indeed, it is thanks to him that the sauce adheres correctly to the pasta. This is why rinsing is unnecessary: you just have to drain them in the colander.
little tip : once drained, great Italian chefs recommend pouring the pasta directly into the pan where the sauce is simmering. This is what will give you more flavor. It is especially necessary to avoid that they are in contact with the ambient air so that they do not dry out and do not stick. While stirring regularly and gently, add a small amount of water which will be very helpful for a thicker consistency.
What is the pasta rinse used for?
But by the way, why do most people have the habit of rinsing pasta after cooking? Quite simply to prevent them from sticking together. Indeed, the big culprit is none other than the starch present in this food: it is this which triggers this sticky and pasty effect. However, as we have just specified, when you rinse your pasta after cooking, you remove the starch whose role is essential, as explained above. Don’t forget that the type of wheat has a role to play: soft wheat pasta, very economical, contains much more starch. It’s up to you to make the right choice at the time of purchase!
So how do you prevent your spaghetti stick together? Here are some tips:
- Even a light rinse will not allow them to come off properly. On the other hand, the water you use for cooking will be decisive: you absolutely have to bet on a large volume. For example, 1 liter of water for 100 g of pasta. This is also what will allow the starch to gradually dilute in the pan.
- Many believe that olive oil prevents pasta from sticking. This is not necessarily the case, since it tends to float on the surface of the pan. But, yes, you can add a few drops to the sauce when mixing with the pasta.
- During cooking, the saving gesture is to stir the pasta regularly. Especially in the first few minutes, because that’s where they risk sticking to the bottom.
- Finally, the best solution to prevent them from sticking once cooked is to incorporate them immediately after cooking in the sauce.
When is it good to rinse pasta?
Although it is generally not recommended to rinse the starch from the pasta, there is a particular situation where it is recommended to do so in order to obtain better results. In particular, when you want to use them for a cold recipe, such as to decorate a salad.
When it is a cold dish, the rinsing must be done to cool the pasta as quickly as possible, in order to maintain a good texture. In this very particular case, if you don’t wash off the excess starch before letting them cool, the pieces of pasta are in real danger of sticking together.
Note that most dishes, where you eat cold pasta, are garnished with a sauce thick enough to easily adhere to your pasta without the help of the action of starch.
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