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  #1  
Old 02-01-2005, 04:56 PM
RitzyRae RitzyRae is offline
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Cooking Question: Do you rinse your noodles?

If you lived in our kitchen you might often observe my husband and I standing over our drained spaghetti (or other pasta) noodles, debating whether or not to rinse them. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But we both swear we've read something on the subject, though our memories fail us.

Do you rinse? Why or why not?
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2005, 04:59 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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I do not rinse noodles after cooking. The remaining starch on the noodles is supposed to help the sauce to stick and coat the noodles more thoroughly.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:02 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Nope, never rinse. And I've certainly never seen an Italian rinse pasta.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:06 PM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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The only time I rince noodles is if they are to be cooled down for use in a salad, or else to be stir fried later. In both cases it is worth getting rid of the extra startch by rinseing. I wouldn't rinse pasta before serving, as it would just cool it down too much IMHO.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:08 PM
filmore filmore is offline
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I do rinse because I prefer the texture of the rinsed noodles. When I don't rinse, the noodles taste too "sticky" for my preference.

In addition, I'm able to cook the noodles to the right amount of doneness easier when I rinse. Since I rinse in cool water, the cooking process stops as soon as I rinse. If I don't rinse, then the pasta seems to cook a little longer and gets too soft.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:24 PM
Odinoneeye Odinoneeye is offline
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I don't rinse. My mom taught me to rince them, but somewhere along the line I stopped and it never seemed to make that much difference.

Bottom line is, you can do it whichever way you like. My advice is next time you make pasta, seperate it into two bowls and rinse half of it. Then taste both and see which one you like better.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:30 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odinoneeye
My advice is next time you make pasta, seperate it into two bowls and rinse half of it. Then taste both and see which one you like better.
Better yet, have your husband make dinner and do a blind tasting.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:34 PM
Cheez Cheez is offline
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I rinse. I think the noodles taste more "starchy" if you don't.
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2005, 07:49 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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A couple of weeks ago the New Yorker had its annual Food Issue and one article waw about cooking pasta in Italy. I don't remember the specifics, but in one passing phrase, he referred to the fact that Italians DON'T rinse their pasta and consider it blasphemy....
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2005, 09:06 PM
RitzyRae RitzyRae is offline
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I don't think we have a taste or sticky issue - just wondering what the benefits or... un-benefits are. But hey, if the Italians don't even rinse, who am I to presume?! Still envisioning a blind noodle tasting... hmm...
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2005, 09:13 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I definitely do not rinse for the reasons stated above. If I rinse my noodles, the sauce ends up as a bit pile on the bottom of my plate or bowl, rather than sticking to the pasta as it should.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2005, 09:50 PM
zoid zoid is offline
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As has already been stated, it depends on the application.

Soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) which are served cold with a very thin but tasty sauce should always be rinsed. If they aren't the noodles over-cook and the starch clouds the sauce.

Pasta to be served with a tomato sauce should NOT be rinsed. A good pasta made from hard durham wheat should not get soggy as long as you cook it al dente and the starch allows the sauce to stick to the noodles increasing their flavor.

My 2 cents FWIW
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2005, 04:20 AM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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I don't rinse noodles eaten hot but I will rinse noodles before I cool them down and store them for leftovers.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2005, 08:02 AM
bouv bouv is offline
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I never rinse pasta. The starch goes away and the sauce doesn't stick, it ends up combing with the leftover water from the rinsing and getting nasty on the bottom of the plate, below the pasta. SOme peopel like to say they rinse to stop the cooking, well, you should stop cooking when the pastai s al dente, i.e., not 100% cooked all the way. By the time you serve it, it will be perfect.


Oh, I also don't put oil in the water. Doesn't do a damn thing.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2005, 08:43 AM
RitzyRae RitzyRae is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv
Oh, I also don't put oil in the water. Doesn't do a damn thing.
Oh really???
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2005, 08:57 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Well, you shouldn't add oil to pasta.

Quote:
You may have heard that you can avoid sticky pasta by adding oil to the pasta water. This can prevent sticking, but at a great price. Pasta that's cooked in oily water will become oily itself and, as a result, the sauce slides off, doesn't get absorbed, and you have flavorless pasta.
http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pages/c00140.asp

FWIW, I've never found the need to use oil to keep pasta from sticking.
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  #17  
Old 02-02-2005, 09:07 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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I sometimes lightly toss it in oil if I am assembling a baked dish using the pasta. Other than that I have never heard of any chef recommending either adding oil to the water or rinsing the pasta, except for salad making, but I routinely see threads were people insist that it is the thing to do.

But other than making a salad or a baked pasta dish you don't have to worry about pasta sticking because it should come out of the pot, drain and then join the sauce for immediate serving.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2005, 09:26 AM
Athena Athena is online now
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Like the others said - putting oil in pasta water does absolutely nothing. Notice that oil and water don't mix; putting oil in the water simply results in an oil slick on the top of the water. If you're having trouble with noodles sticking together, you're not cooking in enough water. Use a bigger pot and/or more water.

Alton Brown has an episode of Good Eats where he confirms that oil in pasta water does nothing.

Most recipes are written with the idea that pasta is not rinsed after cooking. That startchy taste is desired, and it allows the sauce to stick to the noodles better. Pasta should never be rinsed.
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  #19  
Old 02-02-2005, 09:31 AM
Turek Turek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RitzyRae
Oh really???
If your pot isn't as big as it should be and you put a tablespoon of oil in the water, it helps keep it from boiling over. I've never noticed this making a difference to the taste or how well sauce sticks, since the oil pretty much stays on top of the water.
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  #20  
Old 02-02-2005, 09:32 AM
Ponder Stibbons Ponder Stibbons is offline
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I'd never even heard of the practice of rinsing noodles until this thread. I've never rinsed noodles except in the rare cases I'm making a pasta salad and want to cool them off quickly.
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  #21  
Old 02-02-2005, 11:48 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena
Like the others said - putting oil in pasta water does absolutely nothing. Notice that oil and water don't mix; putting oil in the water simply results in an oil slick on the top of the water. If you're having trouble with noodles sticking together, you're not cooking in enough water. Use a bigger pot and/or more water.

Alton Brown has an episode of Good Eats where he confirms that oil in pasta water does nothing.

Most recipes are written with the idea that pasta is not rinsed after cooking. That startchy taste is desired, and it allows the sauce to stick to the noodles better. Pasta should never be rinsed.
I saw that episode a few days ago, and he didn't so much prove that adding oil doesn't affect the pasta as that it doesn't go anywhere. He put a measured amount of oil in with a batch of pasta, cooked it, then was able to recover essentially every last drop of oil from the water post-cooking. The inference being that none of the oil is in the pasta.

Adding a splash of oil does help prevent boil-over, at least. Cooking pasta in a properly large pot does just as well, though - I never use anything smaller than an 8-quart stockpot for pasta, filled 2/3 with water, and that's only because I've got something else going on in my 12-quart pot. If you have to keep stirring the stuff, your pot's too small!

As for rinsing - never. As I saw in a "Cooking for Utter Idiots" type cookbook once, "Your spaghetti just had a nice hot bath. Why would it need a shower?"
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  #22  
Old 02-04-2005, 02:54 AM
sturmhauke sturmhauke is offline
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My electric stove is old and doesn't put out as much heat as I would like. When I add the noodles the temperature drops too much, sometimes to a bare simmer. I either have to stir until the noodles stop sticking together so much and the water returns to a good boil, or just add a bit of oil. Yeah it just sits on top, but convection currents carry the noodles up the center, through the oil, and down the sides, so it's not like the oil is useless.
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  #23  
Old 02-04-2005, 10:22 AM
RitzyRae RitzyRae is offline
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An update: Last night we cooked noodles in our very largest pot - no oil, no stirring, no rinsing. All was very good. Hooray!
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  #24  
Old 02-04-2005, 10:26 AM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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There is one isolated reason to rinse pasta. My sister-in-law was preparing to cook for the church spaghetti supper. She called the Creamettes company to find out how to make lots of spaghetti ahead of time without having it all stick together before serving. They said, "Rinse it after cooking, and it won't stick together.

By the way, in the previously mentioned Good Eats® food myths show, Brown says you can keep pasta from sticking by cooking in much more water than most folks use. The starch gets diluted in more water.

If your stove won't heat water quickly, start with hot water from the tap, so the stove only has to raise the temp by 60 or 70 degrees F.
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