The Great Pasta Debate: Unveiling Truths and Myths

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The Great Pasta Debate

After publishing an article debunking five commonly held kitchen myths last week, I received numerous inquiries and pleas regarding pasta. People wanted me to settle disputes between family members, roommates, and even long-married couples. The myths that stirred the most controversy included whether pasta should be rinsed after cooking (false: the starch helps provide pasta’s unique texture) and the necessity of adding olive oil to pasta cooking water (false: stirring is more effective in preventing sticking).

Unveiling More Pasta Truths and Myths

Here’s a closer look at additional pasta beliefs and misconceptions:

  • Truth or myth: Pasta should always be cooked al dente or firm to the tooth.
  • The belief that pasta should be cooked al dente originates from a cross-cultural misunderstanding. In the U.S., pasta is typically served fully cooked with sauce on top, whereas in Italy, pasta and sauce are combined. Italian recipes often require pasta to be cooked twice, first in boiling water and then with seasonings or sauce. Therefore, leaving the pasta slightly undercooked (al dente) in the initial stage is practical. You can adjust the cooking by adding more sauce or cooking water, but once pasta is overcooked, you cannot reverse it.
More Pasta Recipes at NYT Cooking
Spaghetti Carbonara
Baked Tomato Pasta With Harissa and Halloumi
Braised Broccoli Pasta
Gochujang Shrimp Pasta
One-Pot Tortellini With Prosciutto and Peas
Pasta con Palta (Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta)
Basil-Butter Pasta
Mortadella Carbonara
Manicotti
Creamy, Lemony Pasta
Spicy Chorizo Pasta
Broccoli Dill Pasta
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta With Sage and Walnuts
Ricotta Pasta alla Vodka
Black Pepper and Onion Spaghetti

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