Pasta



J

John Gaughan

Guest
That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.

1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.

2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
after rinsing. Olive oil helps avoid sticking.

3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
helps bond to OO-coated pasta.

When I did this working as a restaurant line cook, I shocked the pasta in cold water. I reheated in
boiling water and added to sauce in a saute pan to reheat. At home I eat it right away, so I do not
shock it, but I still want to get rid of some of the nasty yucky starch. The olive oil also helps
avoid sticking when stored in the fridge.

When I used whole wheat pasta, the sauce did not stick to the pasta nearly as well. I assume this is
because it has less starch, or least less starch released into the water.

--
John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/ [email protected]
 
B

Bob

Guest
John Gaughan wrote:

> That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
> disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.
>
> 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.

The general reason offered for putting oil in the water is to help the pasta not stick together.
It's not true. Rapid boiling and occasional stirring are all that's necessary. One of my cooks
insisted that the oil made life easier so we cooked 6 batches of spaghetti, 3 with oil and 3
without. No difference.

> 2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
> after rinsing.

Pasta essentially *is* starch. "Excess" is a value judgement. Mostly what rinsing does is cool
the pasta and set the surface starch into a gel. It doesn't rinse off as much as intuition
would suggest.

> Olive oil helps avoid sticking.

Oil added after cooking will.

> 3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
> helps bond to OO-coated pasta.

Oil will only replace water in volume. No other characteristic will be available from both. If the
sauces are water-based, as most pasta sauces are, the oil on the pasta will actually make the
surface more slippery and less likely to accept the water-based coating.

> When I did this working as a restaurant line cook, I shocked the pasta in cold water.

There was no need to chill it this way. A butter glaze on it will keep it from sticking and from
absorbing any more moisture. Drain, butter, toss and put into the walk-in to chill down. Restaurant
pasta intended to be reheated (as it almost all is) is cooked less than it would be for home
service. The reason is because of the reheating process that will add to how cooked it was to begin
with. So slightly undercooked.

> I reheated in boiling water and added to sauce in a saute pan to reheat.

One of the standard restaurant techniques.

> At home I eat it right away, so I do not shock it, but I still want to get rid of some of the
> nasty yucky starch. The olive oil also helps avoid sticking when stored in the fridge.
>
> When I used whole wheat pasta, the sauce did not stick to the pasta nearly as well. I assume this
> is because it has less starch, or least less starch released into the water.

Partly. And partly because of that olive oil. Try it once with no oil in the cook water and butter
(couple tablespoons after draining but not rinsing) and the sauce will coat better.

Pastorio
 
J

JimLane

Guest
Bob (this one) wrote:
> John Gaughan wrote:
>
>> That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
>> disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.
>>
>> 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>
>
> The general reason offered for putting oil in the water is to help the pasta not stick together.
> It's not true. Rapid boiling and occasional stirring are all that's necessary. One of my cooks
> insisted that the oil made life easier so we cooked 6 batches of spaghetti, 3 with oil and 3
> without. No difference.
>
>> 2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
>> after rinsing.
>
>
> Pasta essentially *is* starch. "Excess" is a value judgement. Mostly what rinsing does is cool the
> pasta and set the surface starch into a gel. It doesn't rinse off as much as intuition would
> suggest.
>
>> Olive oil helps avoid sticking.
>
>
> Oil added after cooking will.
>
>> 3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
>> helps bond to OO-coated pasta.
>
>
> Oil will only replace water in volume. No other characteristic will be available from both. If the
> sauces are water-based, as most pasta sauces are, the oil on the pasta will actually make the
> surface more slippery and less likely to accept the water-based coating.
>
>> When I did this working as a restaurant line cook, I shocked the pasta in cold water.
>
>
> There was no need to chill it this way. A butter glaze on it will keep it from sticking and from
> absorbing any more moisture. Drain, butter, toss and put into the walk-in to chill down.
> Restaurant pasta intended to be reheated (as it almost all is) is cooked less than it would be for
> home service. The reason is because of the reheating process that will add to how cooked it was to
> begin with. So slightly undercooked.
>
>> I reheated in boiling water and added to sauce in a saute pan to reheat.
>
>
> One of the standard restaurant techniques.
>
>> At home I eat it right away, so I do not shock it, but I still want to get rid of some of the
>> nasty yucky starch. The olive oil also helps avoid sticking when stored in the fridge.
>>
>> When I used whole wheat pasta, the sauce did not stick to the pasta nearly as well. I assume this
>> is because it has less starch, or least less starch released into the water.
>
>
> Partly. And partly because of that olive oil. Try it once with no oil in the cook water and butter
> (couple tablespoons after draining but not rinsing) and the sauce will coat better.
>
> Pastorio
>

I always heard that the oil was to prevent sticking when the pasta gets cold, not when it is hot.
Perhaps I got that wrong. did you refrigerate any of the batches and then compare?

jim
 
C

Cristina

Guest
John Gaughan wrote:
> That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
> disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.
>
> 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.

No oil needed as it does nothing for the pasta.
>
> 2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
> after rinsing. Olive oil helps avoid sticking.

Won't stick if you use enough water and you cook it to al dente
>
> 3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
> helps bond to OO-coated pasta.

HUH? Don't get this at all.

John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way you do
then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy) then follow my way of doing
it. BTW, If your pasta is starchy you are over cooking it.

Cristina
--
Info on Moving to Italy and Driving in Italy http://www.cristinasweb.com
 
C

Charles Gifford

Guest
"cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way you do
> then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy)

Now, now. Don't be a snob. Italians do travel and live outside Italy you know. I have Italian
friends living in the U.S. and in the U.K. Yes! Real Italians! Italians do not need to be in Italy
to be real.

Other than that I agree with your post.

Charlie

> then follow my way of doing it. BTW, If your pasta is starchy you are over cooking it.
>
> Cristina
 
C

Curly Sue

Guest
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 21:56:46 -0600, John Gaughan
<[email protected]> wrote:

>That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
>disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.
>
>1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>
>2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
> after rinsing.

Not "normal" pasta. Lousy pasta has plenty of starch. Sit down John and listen to us. Get someone to
shake yourself by the shoulders if necessary for the message to sink in!

If you have excess starch in the water, you either have:
- lousy quality pasta
- not enough water
- cooked too long (although probably not in your case as you say you cook it al dente)

>3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
> helps bond to OO-coated pasta.

Probably does more for the flavor :>

>When I did this working as a restaurant line cook, I shocked the pasta in cold water. I reheated in
>boiling water and added to sauce in a saute pan to reheat. At home I eat it right away, so I do not
>shock it, but I still want to get rid of some of the nasty yucky starch. The olive oil also helps
>avoid sticking when stored in the fridge.

John, John, John... good pasta does not have yucky starch. Whatever is there is part of the pasta.
Sauce without oil will prevent sticking, but some sticking is inevitable. But don't get so hung up
on whether it sticks when cold. It should loosen up when warmed.

Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
 
C

Curly Sue

Guest
On Sun, 29 Feb 2004 10:06:31 GMT, "Charles Gifford"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>
>"cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message news:[email protected]
>berlin.de...
>>
>> John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way you do
>> then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy)
>
>Now, now. Don't be a snob. Italians do travel and live outside Italy you know. I have Italian
>friends living in the U.S. and in the U.K. Yes! Real Italians! Italians do not need to be in Italy
>to be real.

She seems rather testy this morning, over there in real Italy ;>

Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
 
K

Katra

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] (Curly Sue) wrote:

> On Sun, 29 Feb 2004 10:06:31 GMT, "Charles Gifford" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >
> >"cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message news:[email protected]
> >berlin.de...
> >>
> >> John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way you
> >> do then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy)
> >
> >Now, now. Don't be a snob. Italians do travel and live outside Italy you know. I have Italian
> >friends living in the U.S. and in the U.K. Yes! Real Italians! Italians do not need to be in
> >Italy to be real.
>
> She seems rather testy this morning, over there in real Italy ;>
>
> Sue(tm)

She's just a pasta perfectionist... <grins> Wonder if she knows tho' that noodles did not
originate in Italy?

http://www.professionalpasta.it/dir_9/1_whoinv.htm

K.

--
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...

>,,<Cat's Haven Hobby Farm>,,<Katra at centurytel dot net>,,<
http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&include=0&userid=katra
 
M

Melba's Jammin

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "cristina"
<siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote:

> John Gaughan wrote:
> > 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>
> No oil needed as it does nothing for the pasta. Cristina

It's not for the pasta, Cristina; it's to lessen the chance of boilover.
--
-Barb, <www.jamlady.eboard.com> updated 2-19-04 -- Dufus picture posted!
 
C

Cristina

Guest
Melba's Jammin' wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>, "cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE
> SENDING)@libero.it> wrote:
>
>> John Gaughan wrote:
>>> 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>>
>> No oil needed as it does nothing for the pasta. Cristina
>
> It's not for the pasta, Cristina; it's to lessen the chance of boilover.

Yep but if you use a big enough pot you won't have boilover.

Hey Barb, I now am making your brownies for my children's school on a weekly basis for birthday
parties. I have also had to give the recipe (translated) to all of the teachers at the school. 120
brownies get woofed down faster than you can say Tanti Auguri (Happy Birthday). Thanks again for
giving up the recipe.

Cristina
--
Info on Moving to Italy and Driving in Italy http://www.cristinasweb.com
 
C

Cristina

Guest
Katra wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Curly Sue) wrote:
>
>> On Sun, 29 Feb 2004 10:06:31 GMT, "Charles Gifford" <[email protected]> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> "cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message news:[email protected]
>>> berlin.de...
>>>>
>>>> John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way you
>>>> do then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy)
>>>
>>> Now, now. Don't be a snob. Italians do travel and live outside Italy you know. I have Italian
>>> friends living in the U.S. and in the U.K. Yes! Real Italians! Italians do not need to be in
>>> Italy to be real.
>>
>> She seems rather testy this morning, over there in real Italy ;>
>>
>> Sue(tm)
>
> She's just a pasta perfectionist... <grins> Wonder if she knows tho' that noodles did not
> originate in Italy?

My bad, I should have said Italians who were born and raised in Italy not Italian Americans who were
born and raised in the US as there is a difference. I am not trying to be a snob but it probably
comes across that way and for that I am sorry. It is just that I, as an Italian American who grew up
in the US, had IA friends who would drop a plate of plain pasta with a glob of sauce on top and say
this is the way it is done in Italy but then since my father lived in Italy I knew that wasn't the
case. No matter though how much I tried to show the difference they would have nothing of
it. These are the same people who I hear walking down the streets of towns here saying that the
Italians don't know how to cook Italian food and that they should come to New York or Chicago
and taste what it is really like.

Again, not to be a snob but I guess I am a pasta perfectionist <BG>

Cristina
--
Info on Moving to Italy and Driving in Italy http://www.cristinasweb.com
 
M

Melba's Jammin

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "cristina"
<siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote:

> Melba's Jammin' wrote:
> > It's not for the pasta, Cristina; it's to lessen the chance of boilover.
>
> Yep but if you use a big enough pot you won't have boilover.
>
> Hey Barb, I now am making your brownies for my children's school on a weekly basis for birthday
> parties. I have also had to give the recipe (translated) to all of the teachers at the school. 120
> brownies get woofed down faster than you can say Tanti Auguri (Happy Birthday). Thanks again for
> giving up the recipe.

> Cristina

Now that is just the cat's pajamas, Cristina!! Very cool! Would you like a few pickle hats with
which to dazzle them, too? There are pictures of it on my webpage.
--
-Barb, <www.jamlady.eboard.com> updated 2-19-04 -- Dufus picture posted!
 
P

Peter Aitken

Guest
"John Gaughan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> That last thread I started about pasta caused a stir... it seems that, of all horrors, people
> disagreed with me! Anyway, here is how I normally prepare pasta and my rationale for doing so.
>
> 1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>
> 2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
> after rinsing. Olive oil helps avoid sticking.
>
> 3. Plate and add sauce. Sauce has EVOO added to replace water lost when cooking. Arguably, this
> helps bond to OO-coated pasta.
>
> When I did this working as a restaurant line cook, I shocked the pasta in cold water. I reheated
> in boiling water and added to sauce in a saute pan to reheat. At home I eat it right away, so I do
> not shock it, but I still want to get rid of some of the nasty yucky starch. The olive oil also
> helps avoid sticking when stored in the fridge.
>
> When I used whole wheat pasta, the sauce did not stick to the pasta nearly as well. I assume this
> is because it has less starch, or least less starch released into the water.
>

I you are getting so much "nasty yucky starch" you may want to try another brand of pasta. In my
experience it is the bargain pastas that end up really starchy and sticky. I highly recommend
deCecco, imported from Italy. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the difference.

Peter Aitken
 
B

Bob

Guest
Katra wrote:

> She's just a pasta perfectionist... <grins> Wonder if she knows tho' that noodles did not
> originate in Italy?

Don't start up with that Marco Polo brought it back from China stuff. That's another conventional
wisdom that's not wise. Been demolished by historical documentation.

The greatest likelihood is that pasta (wheat flour and water) was "invented" independently in many
places throughout history. Ancient Rome had a dish called "laganum" that appears to be a precursor
to today's lasagna.

Pastorio
 
B

Bob

Guest
Melba's Jammin' wrote:

> In article <[email protected]>, "cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE
> SENDING)@libero.it> wrote:
>
>>John Gaughan wrote:
>>
>>>1. Cook pasta al dente in plenty of boiling water. Water has salt and a little olive oil added.
>>
>>No oil needed as it does nothing for the pasta. Cristina
>
> It's not for the pasta, Cristina; it's to lessen the chance of boilover.

That's what the little dial thingy on the stove is for. <g>

Enough water in a large enough pot and it won't boil over. A gallon per pound, salt and all the heat
you can put to it. No boilover.

The reason it might boil over is because the starch helps to make a stable foam if concentrated.
Dilute it with enough water and no stability. No boilover.

What time's dinner?

Pastorio
 
F

Ferrante

Guest
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 21:56:46 -0600, John Gaughan
<[email protected]> wrote:

>2. Rinse pasta in hot water to get rid of excess starch. Normal pasta has plenty of starch, even
> after rinsing. Olive oil helps avoid sticking.
>
John, Everything I ever seen or read says not to rinse as it removes the starch and the sauce will
not stick to the noodles. I am a newbie cook, so you probably know more than I. Please clarify
this for me.

Thanks, Mark Ferrante Bachelor Cook
 
K

Katra

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
"cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote:

> Katra wrote:
> > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Curly Sue)
> > wrote:
> >
> >> On Sun, 29 Feb 2004 10:06:31 GMT, "Charles Gifford" <[email protected]> wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>> "cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message news:[email protected]
> >>> berlin.de...
> >>>>
> >>>> John, I think that you should do whatever works for you. If you want to make pasta the way
> >>>> you do then fine, if you want to do it like Italians (real Italians in Italy)
> >>>
> >>> Now, now. Don't be a snob. Italians do travel and live outside Italy you know. I have Italian
> >>> friends living in the U.S. and in the U.K. Yes! Real Italians! Italians do not need to be in
> >>> Italy to be real.
> >>
> >> She seems rather testy this morning, over there in real Italy ;>
> >>
> >> Sue(tm)
> >
> > She's just a pasta perfectionist... <grins> Wonder if she knows tho' that noodles did not
> > originate in Italy?
>
> My bad, I should have said Italians who were born and raised in Italy not Italian Americans who
> were born and raised in the US as there is a difference. I am not trying to be a snob but it
> probably comes across that way and for that I am sorry.

Just messing with you hon', don't take it seriously! Your posts are quite valued....

> It is just that I, as an Italian American who grew up in the US, had IA friends who would drop a
> plate of plain pasta with a glob of sauce on top and say this is the way it is done in Italy but
> then since my father lived in Italy I knew that wasn't the case. No matter though how much I tried
> to show the difference they would have nothing of
> it. These are the same people who I hear walking down the streets of towns here saying that the
> Italians don't know how to cook Italian food and that they should come to New York or Chicago
> and taste what it is really like.
>
> Again, not to be a snob but I guess I am a pasta perfectionist <BG>
>
> Cristina

Keep on posting....... ;-) I've enjoyed them very much!

Now if anyone has hints on how to cook rice pasta and keep it from getting sticky......

K.

L.

--
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...

>,,<Cat's Haven Hobby Farm>,,<Katra at centurytel dot net>,,<
http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&include=0&userid=katra
 
K

Katra

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
"Bob (this one)" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Katra wrote:
>
> > She's just a pasta perfectionist... <grins> Wonder if she knows tho' that noodles did not
> > originate in Italy?
>
> Don't start up with that Marco Polo brought it back from China stuff. That's another conventional
> wisdom that's not wise. Been demolished by historical documentation.

I googled it, that's why I did not mention Marco Polo. <G> I see that it was a myth-conception
and it was news to me. I'm trying very hard to do a bit of searching prior to posting some
stuff anymmore!

Helps to keep me out of trouble. ;-D

>
> The greatest likelihood is that pasta (wheat flour and water) was "invented" independently in many
> places throughout history. Ancient Rome had a dish called "laganum" that appears to be a precursor
> to today's lasagna.
>
> Pastorio

Which would indeed be Italy..... :)

http://www.professionalpasta.it/dir_9/1_whoinv.htm

K.

--
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...

>,,<Cat's Haven Hobby Farm>,,<Katra at centurytel dot net>,,<
http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&include=0&userid=katra
 
M

Melba's Jammin

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Bob (this one)"
<[email protected]> wrote:

> Melba's Jammin' wrote:
(snip)
> > It's not for the pasta, Cristina; it's to lessen the chance of boilover.
>
> That's what the little dial thingy on the stove is for. <g>

Yeah, yeah, yeah. (snip)
> What time's dinner?
>
> Pastorio

Dear heart, dinner was 3-1/2 hours ago: I pulled some frozen spaghetti sauce from the freezer, some
frozen meat-a-balls from the freezer (yeah, they were homemade and pretty good), and boiled up a
mess of angel hair. It'll be lunch for a couple days. Or supper tomorrow night, too; we're not
fussy. I picked up a hoagy loaf at Brianno's on my way home and we had that with the spaghetti. And
some olives from Brianno's, too. Not as good as the olives from Zabar's, but I'm here, not there.
Dessert was two GS peanut butter sandwich cookies.
--
-Barb, <www.jamlady.eboard.com> updated 2-19-04 -- Dufus picture posted!
 
C

Charles Gifford

Guest
"cristina" <siena_us(REMOVE BEFORE SENDING)@libero.it> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> My bad, I should have said Italians who were born and raised in Italy not Italian Americans who
> were born and raised in the US as there is a difference.

Actually that is what I was refering to. There are Italians (not Italian-Americans) living in the
U.S. and other places besides Italy.

> I am not trying to be a snob but it probably comes across that way and for that I am sorry.

Not to worry. My use of "snob" was a little strong perhaps. It wasn't a huge sin. ;-)

> It is just that I, as an Italian American who grew up in the US, had IA friends who would drop a
> plate of plain pasta
with
> a glob of sauce on top and say this is the way it is done in Italy but
then
> since my father lived in Italy I knew that wasn't the case. No matter though how much I tried to
> show the difference they would have nothing of
> it. These are the same people who I hear walking down the streets of
towns
> here saying that the Italians don't know how to cook Italian food and that they should come to New
> York or Chicago and taste what it is really like.
>
> Again, not to be a snob but I guess I am a pasta perfectionist <BG>

Certainly nothing wrong with that!

Charlie

> Cristina
> --
> Info on Moving to Italy and Driving in Italy http://www.cristinasweb.com