Pasta – To Rinse or Not to Rinse?! – Kitchen Shortcut

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on February 1, 2011

Pasta

To rinse, or not to rinse?

That is the question.

A very Hamlet-esque question for us this fine Tuesday morning!

When to Rinse Pasta

  • If you are serving it as a cold salad and you need to get it cold. Fast.
  • If you are cooking a gluten free pasta that is rice based or corn based.  This needs to be rinsed with as cold of water as you can get from your kitchen sink.  The best al-dente rice pasta needs to be rinsed of all the rice-y, starchy water.
  • If you are planning to serve the pasta plain, as part of a “pasta bar,” or if you plan to store the noodles in the fridge (say for a child), then go ahead and rinse off the starchy-ness.

When to Not Rinse Pasta

  • If you are adding a red or white sauce to the pasta immediately after the pasta has cooked.  Best way to add the sauce is the drain the pasta in a colander, then add the red or white sauce to the smoking hot pot.  Add a dollop of butter to the sauce and then pour the pasta back in with the sauce.  Stir it together and cook for about 1 minute.  This will allow the hot pasta to soak up some of the juices from the sauce. (Mmmm.)

(You can also save about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and add that back in with the pasta and sauce and let it cook a bit longer, until the sauce reduces down to your desired consistency.)

There you have it…the answers to the age-old question, to rinse or not to rinse!!?!!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

patty slupecki February 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

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Amber February 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Very good advice. Now, can you tell me why my spaghetti noodles ALWAYS stick together? Am I cooking too long? Not long enough?

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Christine B. February 3, 2011 at 3:24 am

Amber needs to know about Rachael Rays advice…Add pasta to boiling hot water to avoid sticking together. If you add pasta to cold water it will stick. My experience has been the pasta sticks to the bottom of the pan. What a mess!!!

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Jolanda February 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I always cook my spaghetti in very well salted water until it is al dente. I never cook it longer than that. Then I drain it but leave the last 100 ml in the pan. I throw the pasta back into the pan and use a fork to stir it through the cooking water.
I don’t know why this works but it does.
Use enough salt, don’t worry about that becaus the majority stays in the water that your throw away.

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Amber March 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I do add the pasta to rapidly boiling water…..It doesn’t stick to the pan so much as the noodles stick to eachother. I also put a tsp of veg/olive oil in while boiling, as I was told this would prevent sticking, but hasn’t worked for me. I will try Jolanda’s advice. Thanks! :)

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Amber M May 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I have had the pasta sticking thing happen over and over, Since I have started string more often, using a larger pot to boil in and adding more oil (1/4 for a large pot) to the water I have pretty much eliminated the sticky stuck together not quiet cooked clump of noodle mess.

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Ashley S September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

The oil i have found is more for not letting the water boil over. But yes, you should use highly salted water, and the noodles don’t tend to soak in the salt as long as they don’t sit in the water after boiling. Drain immediatly.

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