General Question

2davidc8's avatar

When you boil water for pasta, why do the directions call for adding salt to the water?

Asked by 2davidc8 (9204points) March 9th, 2018

What does the salt do?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

It can alter the temp that waters boils at but that is minimal. Maybe it is for flavor.

I never add salt when making pasta and it has always worked out. I don’t even have a salt shaker in my apartment. I avoid the stuff.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Pasta tastes better when the water which it absorbs is salty. The water also comes to a boil a little faster.

ragingloli's avatar

Because unsalted Pasta is bland as all fuck.

seawulf575's avatar

The salt helps break down the starches in the pasta. It will help make it tender more quickly.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I thought it was to prevent it from sticking. I’ve noticed it doesn’t stick as much when I use salt

gondwanalon's avatar

Salt lowers the poiling point of the water. This provides a hotter boiling brine in which to add the pasta.

ragingloli's avatar

Do you really believe the cooks of old gave a flying toss about boiling points when they decided to use salt in their cooking?

SergeantQueen's avatar

It’s because of flavor.

seawulf575's avatar

@SergeantQueen adding a teaspoon of olive oil to the water will help keep it from sticking.

ragingloli's avatar

no. the oil just floats on top.

ragingloli's avatar

And the miniscule amount of oil that is not washed away when you pour out the pasta, will decrease the pasta’s ability to be coated with the actual sauce.
never put oil in the water.

SergeantQueen's avatar

^^That’s what I was thinking. They don’t mix.

ragingloli's avatar

You could just stir once in a while to keep them from sticking.

2davidc8's avatar

I added both salt and oil when I boiled lasagna noodles, and I felt that the oil really helped to keep the wide noodles from sticking. I added the salt because I remember seeing many directions that called for doing that when boiling pasta, but I didn’t know why you would do that since the salt would be too diluted to have any effect. Those of you who said that the salt would make the pasta taste better must be adding a lot of it.

BellaB's avatar

I went to a great show/lecture by Chef Michael Smith were pasta was on the menu. He said to add enough salt to the water to make it as salty as the ocean. He had a long bit about why, I just remember that the pasta didn’t taste salty when we got to sampling.

Definitely no oil in the pasta water. It does not prevent sticking of the pasta but it does prevent sauces from adhering properly to the cooked pasta. That was a big re-learn for me.

More salt. No oil.

Changed my pasta experience for the better.

AshlynM's avatar

Most likely for flavor. It really does make a difference, I’ve tried it before.

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