How To: Why 'Whipping' Cooked Pasta in Sauce Creates a Perfect Dish

Why 'Whipping' Cooked Pasta in Sauce Creates a Perfect Dish

Most cooks know they should stir pasta a few times while it's cooking, for obvious reasons: as the noodles cook, they release a glue-like starch that makes them stick to one another. Stirring prevents them from clumping together in an unwieldy, inedible mass.

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Now Mark Bittman in The New York Times discusses a great technique from Italy that helps you produce a plate of tender, toothsome pasta evenly coated in rich sauce every time, but it involves stirring the pasta at the end of its cooking time—and not with a few gentle turns of the spoon, either. He likens the technique as being akin to whipping egg whites.

Bittman recommends taking the almost fully cooked pasta, placing it in the sauce, adding a little pasta water to thicken the combination, and then stirring everything like crazy.

Image via America's Test Kitchen

The combination of heat and starch from the still-cooking pasta, pasta water, and sauce make the seasonings emulsify for greater flavor and creamy, rich texture. He describes the chef's technique as "almost whipping the pasta as you would egg whites, using a fork in some cases and a large spoon in others, his wrist swiftly moving not so much in circles but in tight ovals."

Pasta con aglio, olio, e peperoncino (pasta with garlic, oil, and peppers) is great with this method. Image by Grant Cornett/New York Times

You can get the original article here, which also includes three classic pasta recipes that incorporate this whipping/stirring technique, but we think it sounds great to use with almost any pasta-and-sauce combination.

Get More Great Pasta Cooking Tips

Get the inside scoop on how to make a one-pot pasta that actually tastes good, as well as this classic three-ingredient pasta sauce from Marcella Hazan. Meanwhile, this trick helps you cook pasta in one minute, with great results. Want to make the fresh stuff at home but don't have a pasta maker? Use a paper shredder for good results. Low-carb or paleo? Then you need this trick to make spaghetti squash noodles more like actual pasta.

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