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Is there ever any reason to rinse off cooked pasta?

Just saw the woman from Food Network's 5 Ingredient Fix do this and I was flabbergasted. I've always heard not to do that because it washes the starches away. The pasta was for a cheesy penne.y

asked by WannabeBaker about 6 years ago
18 answers 11844 views
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added about 6 years ago

I can't imagine any reason for it at all......

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Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 6 years ago

I can't think of one. I never do and make pasta all the time. It cools it off, washes away the starch in my opinion there is no reason to do this.Mine goes straight from the pot to the pan with the sauce in it for a final cook.

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francesca gilberti

Francesca is the former Assistant Editor of food52 and believes you can make anything out of farro.

added about 6 years ago

Absolutely not -- that delicious pasta water clinging to the noodles is essentiall to binding the pasta to sauce!

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added about 6 years ago

I usually fish out the pasta from the water it was cooked in and directly drop it into the skillet with the sauce or the veggies.. NO detour to the sink, it washes off that nice starchy 'touch' about it! reminds me of something that is washed after being dropped on the floor!
unless... I discover (in the process of verifying 'al denteness') that there was waay too much salt in the water.

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added about 6 years ago

Pasta, no, especially if you are putting it in to a cooked sauce. Asian noodles, generally yes.

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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 6 years ago

Given that pasta is composed almost entirely of starch it's kind of hard to wash away even if you wanted to. So I agree with everyone else, it's a pointless step. You might even need some of the cooking water to help finish your sauce if it's too loose.

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added about 6 years ago

This was posted in CNNs blog eatocracy today..Think it gives a very informative tutorial on Pasta handling!!

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Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 6 years ago

Absolutely not! And certainly don't dump all that valuable water down the drain. The adage used to be don't trust everything you read. Well, don't trust everything you see on the food network. And please don't write and ask me how dare I say such a thing. It's been one seriously long day and I'm feeling cranky.

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Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added about 6 years ago

Yes- if it is rice pasta. If you don't immediately immerse it in sauce, you have to thoroughly rinse under cold water after cooking or it will stick together like glue. I love rice pasta! One of the things I like so much is that you don't have to coordinate cooking time because since you cook, drain and rinse it, you can leave it aside until your sauce is done and then throw it in last minute and your texture will still be great.

Also, contrary to what you might hear, it is difficult to overcook rice pasta. Spelt pasta, on the other hand, turns to mush.

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added about 6 years ago

was she trying to cool it down, maybe keep it from continuing to cook from residual heat?

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added about 6 years ago

Like Panfusine, I scoop my pasta out of the water (Oxo has a great scoop for this: http://www.amazon.com/OXO...) and often use a bot of the water to finish sauces.

However, on the rare occasions on which I make a pasta salad, I do often rinse the pasta, both to cool it and to remove some of the surface starch so that it stands alone a bit in the salad. It can also help if you need the pasta to stand for a while before assembling and don't want to douse with oil.

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added about 6 years ago

Yes, we all do when making cold pasta salads. But, why back when I was a child did my aunt spend so much time rinsing the pasta? I don't agree with doing this but her claim is that it makes the sauce stick to the pasta. But, why would you need to rinse it if was boiled in water in the first place? I still don't get it. Too bad she isn't alive to ask.

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Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 6 years ago


I'll bet it was because she added lots of oil to the water in the idea that would stop it boiling over.
So, it needed to rinsed off before saucing. As oiled pasta won't hold the sauce well.

Just a guess tho.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 years ago

Sam1148- That sounds like the best explaination I've heard yet. Thanks!

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added about 6 years ago

It seems to me that the goal of that show is to demonstrate convenience, perhaps at the expense of culinary integrity. When you have a pack of hungry kids to feed - and quick! - that's your primary consideration.

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June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 6 years ago

Don't even ask an Italian that question. They will go all goofy on you! (lol) Seriously, I wondered for years about why some recipes specified rinsing the pasta, so I did ask my Italian cooking maven, Anna Teresa Callen, and she said nonononono never! (very excitedly). I cook my pasta in one of those wonderful pots with a perforated insert, so I just lift the pasta from the boiling water and into the pan that's holding my sauce.

I might be thinner if I didn't like pasta so much!

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added about 6 years ago

No! Never rinse pasta! You want all those wonderful starches to commingle with the sauce you are using, even if just olive oil and garlic. It creates for a thicker, richer flavored sauce. Incidentally, never oil your pasta water. But be sure to salt it so that it tastes 'of the sea'.

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