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Jamie Oliver: Don’t put oil in the water while boiling pasta

This is not a question but more of an acclamation.

I would like to share something that I always believed in, finally supported by a Chef Celebrity.
http://www.theglobeandmail...

Same joy when I found the article about gnocchi on Serious Eat:
"But, yolk-y gnocchi (say that five times fast) are also more firm than their egg-free counterparts, and, while the effect is very subtle, they have less of a clear potato flavor."
http://www.seriouseats...

I admit, I have been weak and once I have add Parmesan to seafood.
But these are my two entrenched cooking principle which I am not willing to compromise.

I am sure it is not just me, what is yours?

asked by Your Guardian Chef 10 months ago
12 answers 1092 views
695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 10 months ago

My entrenched cooking principle is "you don not need validation from celebrity chefs- use your own taste."

88afa98e fd9c 4e61 af72 03658638b6cb  eight ball 600px
cv
added 10 months ago

Recipes are ideas, not gospel.

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 10 months ago

Thank you Smaug, very true..... I will take it as: you also agree! :)

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 10 months ago

That can't be right; I never agree with anyone. I do put oil in pasta water, though I don't consider it particularly important. It can help prevent boilovers in marginally sized pots. In theory, might give you a bit of evoo flavor while preventing excess moisture (which can play havoc with the sauce) from adhering to the pasta, but I don't think it really has any significant effect in that direction. Never really been into gnocchi.

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 10 months ago

Recipes are ideas for those who know how to cook, which is not the case for everyone. Some people follow recipes instructions as they are written.

Some techniques are necessary others are not and if I have a choice, I like to keep my meals always on the healthy side.
Jemie Oliver does too (that is probably why he talked about it).

I learned (please, correct me if I am wrong) that oil (olive or others) is healthier when not cooked, and it is best to add raw at the end (if possible). This is one of the basic principles I grew up with.

So is it really necessary to add it in the boiling water?

Jemie's comments finally gave me the answer:

"No, the people who add oil tend to have come from hotels or mass catering companies and are trying to stop it from sticking together when cooking in such large volumes. If you’re cooking at home in small quantities and take care of it, there’s no need to add any oil."

I believe it is an healthier option to add olive oil at the end, and that you can make gnocchi without the egg. I though it was an important message to send.

I praise articles like Sophie's Ali Slagle's where healthy options are analysed and suggested, and I am sure there are plenty of other healthier choices out there hiding behind techniques which are not really "necessary".

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 10 months ago

Jeez, how much people are people using? I might put a tsp in a couple of gallons of water, and maybe 5% of it ends up being consumed- whether or not a few minutes of boiling will harm the oil, it hardly seems like nutrition is an issue.

88afa98e fd9c 4e61 af72 03658638b6cb  eight ball 600px
cv
added 10 months ago

There are recipes that suck.

I stand by my original statement: "Recipes are ideas, not gospel." A bunch of recipes faithfully executed will result in dishes that I consider substandard. Here on the Internet, there are *MANY* recipes that have typographical errors, inconsistent instructions, missing ingredients, et cetera ad nauseam.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 10 months ago

I always add oil to skinny pasta, like angel hair, because it tends to clump into sticks of several strands which will not come apart after they are cooked. It's either that or stand there swirling them around through the whole cooking process which, granted, isn't all that long for angel hair. ;)

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 10 months ago

Jamie, not Jemie!!

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 10 months ago

Or how much oil, or something like that.

84baef1b 1614 4c3d a895 e859c9d40bd1  chris in oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added 10 months ago

I don't know about Jamie Oliver, but for me, I'd say the issue isn't about health, it's that adding olive oil to an ample pot of salted and boiling water does nothing to keep pasta from sticking. That said, I know plenty of people who do it, and if it makes them feel better, I think it's pretty harmless. From experience, I know that if I opine on the subject, it decidedly does not make them feel better, so I don't. Or I try not to..

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 10 months ago

Not sure I'd listen to him. He had a tv show where he went into people's homes, chiding them for buying frozen fish fingers, shepherds pie, etc and showing them how easily and quickly and more economically they could cook from scratch. Now my local supermarket has a great long freezer section of Jamie Oliver frozen meals! Sure, he touts using sustainable fish, but give me strength!!