Kitchen Hacks

Is This How We’re Really Supposed to Be Draining Pasta?

October  6, 2017

In the kitchen, there are some truths we hold to be self-evident. Not only do we accept these inalienable facts, we never challenge them. But perhaps we are lesser for this inclination to cling to comfort. Maybe there are times that conventional wisdom deserves to be flipped on its sturdy head. Is this one of those times?

A tweet detailing a bizarre pasta straining hack is making rounds on the internet. Separating pasta from its cooking water is one of the more rote kitchen tasks—you simply overturn a pot of water with cooked pasta into a strainer. (And reserve some cooked pasta water!) The water slips through the holes and leaves you, the cook, with dry pasta. The process is foolproof. Until now, that is.

Twitter user @Daibellaaa has people in a twit-fit:

She seems to be just as surprised as we are at this revolutionary? method. The pictures advocate for a systematic reversal: instead of pouring the pasta and its water into a strainer, the hack places the strainer at the rim of the pot. You pour all the water out, keeping the strainer intact, remove the strainer, and the now pasta is dry and alone, ready to be sauced.

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The method is definitely unique, but not nonsensical. Perhaps it's time to give this technique a try. We could be all the better for it.

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Top Comment:
“I'm tired of these click bait articles, that post pictures not even remotely associated with the so-called hack. There are so many reasons this doesn't work, and it's below a serious blog to even post this. Please get serious and stop wasting our time.”
— Jennifer B.

Would you test this out? Or is it just too strange? Let us know your reactions in the comments.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


J October 17, 2018
Same result either way except, as so many commenters have pointed out, more scalding danger with the inverted pot. However, the huge difference to me is that you lose the invaluable pasta cooking water! I bought a strainer with silicone handles for my Instant Pot that, it turns out, is perfect for use while cooking pasta in ANY pot because it's deep and totally cylindrical. Pasta drained, super-safe handling, and all of the pasta water remains to use as needed.
Michael M. October 31, 2017
Robert T. October 19, 2017
Gimmicky, awkward and unnecessary. Now excuse me, I’m going to put my hat on by standing on my head.
Patrick O. October 17, 2017
Must have been a slow day for food writing because this is about as revolutionary as a ham sandwich.
Ardyth E. October 13, 2017
I’d be worried about dumping the boiling water on my hands while jockeying to hold the colander in place and keep the pasta out of the sink, causing me to start all over and it the old way, but with scalded hands.
Scott G. October 13, 2017
Lame.... I use a pot with a basket that fits inside. boil the water, cook the pasta, lift the basket and tilt it to rest on top of the pot for a minute while it drains. done.
JoAnne L. October 12, 2017
Saw this on Facebook and my reaction remains the same, unless the colander fits the pot EXACTLY and even if it does, one misstep and your pasta goes down the drain! That's the best case, worse case, you burn the h e double hockey sticks out of yourself and your pasta goes down the drain!
If I'm cooking a large batch, I use a pasta pot, small batch, I use a large saucepan and a colander placed in the sink, then return the pasta to the pot.
There are some novel ideas floating around these days. ;)
Jennifer B. October 12, 2017
I'm tired of these click bait articles, that post pictures not even remotely associated with the so-called hack. There are so many reasons this doesn't work, and it's below a serious blog to even post this. Please get serious and stop wasting our time.
Richard R. October 13, 2017
I have to agree with this. I thought it was going to be an article about cooking pasta with the sauce ingredients together at the same time (which is actually possible - I have seen it on the internet before). I was hoping for a new variation.
Lisa October 13, 2017
THANK YOU! Adding more nonsense is that in the email (from which I clicked to end up here), the image used is actually one of those "one pot" meals, that you don't even drain. Its one thing to try and be helpful and provide a true "hack", but a disappointing digital clickthrough (and reading) experience is what leads people to get too frustrated to want to open emails or visit a website.
TKT October 14, 2017
Also agree. This is as silly as the article about freezing a layer of peanut butter that was baited as cause the entire Internet to drop its collective jaw in wonder. I don't have time for this nonsense. That's not why I spend time at Food52.
Pete October 17, 2017
Yep!!!! This stupid post just blew the credibility of F52 right out its own arse. What rubbish!
Marguerite C. October 12, 2017
This crazy !
Cookie October 12, 2017
LOL this is right up there with the hilariously useless peanut butter "hack" previously reported on ( Except this one looks dangerous... Still, thanks for the giggle.
Peggy October 12, 2017
If you Google "pasta pot" you will see that the concept is hardly new. When I married my Italian husband 45 years ago, one shower gift from another paisano was a pasta pot - basically a 3-piece utensil with a pot and a slightly smaller strainer pot and a lid. Growing up in a Northern Euro home, who knew? Same thing with saving some pasta water to unstick the pasta if it has to sit before serving. Slick as a whistle. Again... who knew? Mangia Bene!
Avonlm October 12, 2017
I will ladle pasta directly into pot of sauce if that is what the recipe requires by using a long handled bamboo strainer, I also use a pasta pot that has a strainer that fits inside. This works great as you lift out the pasta and then I have pasta water to stir into a sauce if I need to or I ladle the pasta water into the pasta bowls to heat up the bowls before serving to keep pasta as hot as possible. Agree with others that this method seems cumbersome and open to mishap.
Marsha S. October 12, 2017
I agree with just about everyone's comments! Not much of an advantage!!!! I'll stick to the old fashioned way!!!!
Maureen October 12, 2017
Seems dangerous to me. Also, wouldn't prolonged contact with the very hot pot rim perhaps melt a plastic colander?
Colleen R. October 12, 2017
It only works if your collander fits your pan as shown. But I use pans of various sizes when cooking pasta and do not own collanders to fit them all.
ELLE October 8, 2017
Drained pasta left in the collander or put back into the pot immediately starts to stick to itself. My mother always quickly threw a pat of butter into the hot pot, dumped the pasta into the pot and tossed it with the melting butter. Never a problem with sticking. This works with a little oil.
Sam1148 October 7, 2017
I have a pasta pot that's about 25 years old. It has a lid that clamps down and little holes in the lid (with a shutter type thing that can slide to open and close the holes). It's been a great addition to my cookware.
BerryBaby October 6, 2017
Lately I've been draining pasta by using a pasta ladle. Take it out of the pot a ladle at a time and right into the sauce. And, no, the pasta in the pot doesn't get more done, I undercook it and it finishes in the sauce. No hot water splattering, works great for me.
foofaraw October 6, 2017
There is so much water in the pot. I'd probably only use 1/3 of it.
Ron M. October 6, 2017
Interesting, but I don't really see the benefit in doing it this way. Same amount of work, same amount of dirty dishes, and it seems like it should be the same result. You also need to have a colander that fits your pot snuggly.