Are You Supposed To Rinse Noodles After Cooking

When I got to a certain age, I made a promise to myself that I would stop using my parents’ cooking habits as inspiration for articles. Fortunately, that age is 102.

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

When I was a child, my parents—bless them, truly—committed numerous “crimes” against pasta, such as putting oil in the boiling water and rinsing it with tap water while it sat in the colander. The pasta became extra slippery when oil was poured into the water, which was ostensibly done to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Rinsing the noodles under a running faucet further ensured that no sauce could stick.

You see, when noodles are rinsed, the starch on their surface is removed, which makes it harder for sauces of any kind to stick to them. We ate the pasta plain in our house, so it didn’t matter (which is a story for another time, or never). However, that rinse would have been extremely ineffective if our intention had been to pair the noodles with a sauce—for example, red pesto, brown butter, cream and peas, or oil sizzling with garlic and anchovies.

This is not to suggest that you should never rinse your noodles. If you’re preparing a dish that will be served cold or room temperature (cold soba, rice noodles, pasta salad, etc.), you should rinse to get toothsome (sorry) individual strands rather than one big gummy clump. Pray tell, what rules in life are so hard and fast?

However, we all agree that you should always rinse the pasta before making creamy, mayonnaise-based pasta salads because hot pasta can cause the mayonnaise emulsion to break. Another piece of advice: according to Adler, “I get to take it a little bit further with pasta salads—I might not always cook my pasta al dente.” ”.

“It’s basically just washing away the natural starches that the pasta releases during cooking, and that’s such a crucial component of bringing the sauce together,” Adler remarked.

When noodles are going to be cooked again in an assembled baked pasta dish, like lasagna, it might make sense to rinse them after boiling. Rinsing helps prevent the pasta from sticking to itself and ends the cooking process, making it simpler to arrange the ingredients in layers. However, there is still an alternative: according to Adler, “I would blanch it, then go onto a sheet pan with parchment and put a touch of olive oil on it, and then just kind of let it cool down.” Advertisement.

The second problem, as mentioned in the reader’s email, is that some pasta users rinse it after boiling it in salted water. Here’s why, in most situations, you should quit if this applies to you. Advertisement.

A few weeks back, someone asked how to fix marinara sauce that leaks water onto the plate after adding it to pasta in our weekly live cooking chat. At the time, my mind focused on the sauce itself. I recommended boiling it for a short while to inactivate the tomato’s pectin-breaking enzyme, and then simmering it until the right consistency was achieved. However, some people in the chat and a reader who emailed me afterwards pointed out that the pasta might be the issue rather than the sauce.

Related Posts