Simply Recipes: Should You Rinse Pasta?

Apparently, some people out there rinse their pasta. The horror! Please, we beg you, in the name of starch, never do this. Food journalist Ariel Kanter reached out for our opinion on the subject for her piece for Simply Recipes: “The Only Time You Should Ever Rinse Pasta, According to a Chef”. We spoke with our pasta producer Sergio Faella at Pastificio Faella on the matter. His response? A passionate “No way!”

Beatrice wholeheartedly concurs. She says her friends in Italy were horrified at the prospect. They claim they’ve only very rarely rinsed pasta. If they did, “it was always due to a mistake, like oversalting the pasta water, or because they’re in a hurry”.

What about Pasta Salad?

pasta fredda sugarello pignolo tomatoes capers black olives pasta salad

Maybe you’ve heard of rinsing pasta if you’re making a pasta salad, like Sugarello Pasta Fredda Salad. The logic here is you don’t want too much extra starch when you’re serving pasta cold or at room temperature. Otherwise, the pasta can clump together. But here’s the thing, you can control the amount of starch in your final dish by adjusting the quantity of water you use to boil the pasta in the first place. More water = less starch!

Plus, thermal shock isn’t good for any kind of pasta. Do as Sergio does if you’re making pasta salad: cook it in a large amount of water, let cool a few minutes, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and then wait a few more minutes before combining with the rest of the ingredients. This concept goes the other way too. Use a smaller amount of water if you want your dish to be extra starchy, like for Tofe al burro e formaggio. 

So, when should you rinse pasta?

If you’re cooking Italian, the answer is never. Ariel discovered certain Asian noodle dishes require rinsing, but that’s a completely different matter. Italian pasta benefits from starch and as Sergio puts it, “Good pasta doesn’t do well for those who are in a hurry.”

Read Ariel’s full piece on Simply Recipes here: The Only Time You Should Ever Rinse Pasta, According to a Chef.