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boiling pasta: splash of oil or not?

 
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peter grimes
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:54 pm    Post subject: boiling pasta: splash of oil or not? Reply with quote

This is an argument my wife and I have monthly. To add a splash of oil to the boiling water before putting the pasta in, or not?

I think not:

1. the oil does not in fact coat the pasta, as the folklore suggests. The pasta slips right through the bubbles of oil, sinking below the surface of the water; this happens too fast for the oil to bind with the surface of the pasta.

2. countless times the pasta has started to cling together despite generous amounts of oil having been added to the boiling water before dunking the pasta.

Thoughts?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oiling the water for boiling pasta does not seem to achieve any purpose. Oil the pasta immediately after it has been removed from the boiling water.

I've read a whole bunch of other reasons for oiling the water (none of which are true) when authors or cooks agree that oiling doesn't help lubricate the pasta. These include "it lowers the boiling point of water", "it raises the boiling point of water", "it prevents boil over", "it provides flavor to the boiling liquid", etc. In the end, I think it comes down to tradition.

Water and ample amounts of salt are all you need.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

methinks it's as suggested, a 'traditions' thing - I've not been able to prevent (carelessly induced) clumping except by a couple of quick stirs in the first 4-7 minutes of pasta cooking.

there is also a theory that should you indeed succeed(!) in greasing up the individual strands, chunks, pieces, sheets, shapes [whatever] of pasta, a sauce won't 'stick' / 'cling' very readily to the pasta.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: boiling pasta: splash of oil or not? Reply with quote

peter grimes wrote:
This is an argument my wife and I have monthly. To add a splash of oil to the boiling water before putting the pasta in, or not?

I think not:

1. the oil does not in fact coat the pasta, as the folklore suggests. The pasta slips right through the bubbles of oil, sinking below the surface of the water; this happens too fast for the oil to bind with the surface of the pasta.

2. countless times the pasta has started to cling together despite generous amounts of oil having been added to the boiling water before dunking the pasta.

Thoughts?


Absolutely not. By pasta's very design (a starch), it holds sauces to it. Adding oil to the water will cause your sauce to slide right off, this is a bad thing. Add after, if that's what you're up to, not in the water.

Cheers!
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Ravi Shanghavi



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:39 pm    Post subject: to oil or not to oil Reply with quote

oh my.. I've been doing oil in pasta for years.. and I have seen on occasion clumping occur.. only the times when we've not added it. I'll give a go at no oil to see how I make out. Thanks for the input guys. - Ravi Shanghavi
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Tuscan Chef



Joined: 09 Feb 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Tuscany

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:14 am    Post subject: no we don't do that Reply with quote

here in tuscany with our cooking class we don't do it.
What I believe started this is that if you drain pasta and you don't have the sauce ready, to avoid clumping then add some il and stir.
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