Every time I order pasta at an Italian restaurant, I declare it the best meal I’ve ever had. But, somehow, when I make the dish at home, the noodles just don’t taste quite the same. It turns out there may still be hope for my future culinary endeavors because a new video shows exactly how to cook pasta, according science.
The American Chemical Society has blessed us with the tricks to boil your pasta to perfection. The key is to “manipulate the protein and starch interactions,” give the pasta space while in a rolling boil, and add salt instead of oil.
Check out the full instructions — and the scientific reasons behind them.
Renowned chefs have differing views about adding oil to pasta —Lidia Bastianich and Alton Brown advise against it because they say it leaves a sheen on the pasta, and the sauce won’t stick. Gordon Ramsay says we should add oil to keep the pasta from sticking together — but chemists disagree with all of the above.
According to food scientists, the oil will be washed away by the time the water has boiled, so it won’t have an effect on whether or not the sauce sticks.
Instead, add salt — it’s our main flavor enhancer, and they say that if you were to enter a food competition without salt, you “wouldn’t last long.” (Something to keep in mind if entering a food competition is on your bucket list.)
Once the water and salt are boiling, be sure to keep stirring so the noodles don’t stick together.
Here’s a pro tip I can’t wait to try — before draining the pasta, add a ladle-full of the salty, starchy water to your sauce in order to thicken it.
Lastly, never rinse your pasta after it’s done cooking because it’ll wash away that sticky starch.
So, there you have it — the scientific way to cook your pasta to perfection. If anyone needs me, I’ll be cooking up some penne alla vodka.