Culinary Sagacity

~Thought for Food~

The Cathayans believed that the soul or mind is located not in the head but in the stomach.

Doubtless this explains why they fret so much about the preparation and serving of food.

It may also explain why their memories are so much better than ours.

Information is stored not in the finite head, but in the expandable stomach.

--Cyrus Spitama in Gore Vidal's Creation

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WISE TIP: Pasta Water

False: Adding Olive Oil to your water will keep pasta from sticking.

True: Using a very large amount of heavily salted water ("Salted like the sea" as they say in Italy), and stirring frequently, will keep your pasta from sticking while it cooks.

There's no need for olive oil in your pasta water. All it does is float on the very top, it adds no flavor, and does nothing at all to prevent sticking. And as the best way to cook pasta is to finish it in whatever sauce you've chosen, the olive oil will only serve to coat the pasta when you drain it, thus forming a barrier that prevents your sauce from infusing its flavors into the pasta. Also, even if you have used enough water and stirred the pasta frequently, if you leave the pasta in the sieve too long after draining it, it will stick to each other. So drain it and immediately add it to your sauce to finish cooking.


  1. Great tip, Regina! I thought the oil used to keep the pasta from sticking too but when you really think about it...doesn't make sense. Love your blog by the way!

  2. Thanks so much for the comment! I will be doing more "Wise Tips" in future! Feel free to share any tips of your own here at Culinary Sagacity!