Rinsing Pasta?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by masseurchef, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    A bit surprised I couldn't locate a definitive thread on this, but from what I gather, the best method is to put the pasta directly into the sauce after cooking it -no rinsing, etc. And if the pasta is for later use, rinse? rinse and coat in oil? only coat in oil?
     
  2. mike9

    mike9

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    When making enough for dinner I go directly from the water to the sauce pot when just el dente. If I'm making pasta for later use I rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. toss with the slightest bit of oil then refrigerate. This step is very important with GF pastas otherwise they turn to mush.
     
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  3. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    I think it depends on what you are going to do with it and fresh versus dried (store bought.) For fresh pasta we always cooked it and then ran some cold water over it (not an ice bath) and put it in a colander. We finished it by adding just a tiny amount of oil and tossing then storing in tubs. Never had a problem as long as you are using it relatively soon. Just reheat it by flashing it in some hot water. As for dried pasta I've ran water over it and sometimes if I'm feeling lazy will just throw un-oiled pasta into a bag. Same method of reheating and haven't really had any problems but I usually only use large pasta like spaghetti.
     
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  4. someday

    someday

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    I can't really think of any scenarios where rinsing pasta is preferred. I suppose if you are going to store long term in baggies or whatever...

    Rinsing removes the starch from the pasta which makes sauces less clingy.

    Why on earth would you do that to fresh pasta? There is no reason to precook fresh pasta as it cooks in like 1-2 mins. You could take the same amount of time you spend flashing it to just cook it to order in the first place. I don't understand...
     
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  5. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    It's understandable that you would want to cook pasta as close to serving it and if you are doing it in an environment like your home kitchen that's one thing. However there are times where you may need to produce a lot of volume of a product and some kitchens don't have the spare resources/skilled staff to be standing around just cooking pasta all day. As for removing the starch, while that may be true the whole pasta itself is starchy so the small amount of water you may run over it to stop the cooking process isn't necessarily going to make it unusable in sauces.
     
  6. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    No. No. And no.

    I served pasta made from scratch for decades and never rinsed it. I never had to store cooked pasta either. It was always made to order and I made that happen by developing an efficient system that was flexible enough to accommodate the ebb and flow of service. On the rare occasions where there were was leftover pasta after lunch and dinner service, the staff either took it home that night or it was served up as part of the staff meal the next day. I have a thing about tossing out perfectly good food. :)

    Pasta is cheap and rather easy to make, especially strand pastas like linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti etc. Ravioli, tortellini, farfalle etc took a bit longer. Two people who know what they are doing with the right equipment can make a lot of pasta in a reasonably short period of time. Fresh pasta that's properly dried also has the extra added benefit of having a very robust shelf life when properly stored. Since fresh pasta takes a very short amount of time to cook, even in bulk, I never found the need to partially cook pasta, rinse it and store it. I think if I did, my uncle would've returned from the grave and beat me with those rinsed noodles. lol :)
     
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  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Spread it out on a sheet pan to cool quickly and toss lightly in oil if you want to make it easy to pre portion. Otherwise if you're just using the whole batch then just leave it and reheat it in the sauce.
     
  8. someday

    someday

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    That still doesn't make any sense because refreshing the pasta would take almost as much time as just cooking it from fresh...so why not just cook from fresh if the motions are gonna be the same?

    I understand for dried pasta because it takes 8-12 minutes.
     
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  9. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Udon and soba, both fresh Japanese pastas, are always rinsed before serving, whether they're going to be served in broth or cold for dipping. Always rinsed in cold water thoroughly, shaken dry, then plated immediately. The process makes the noodles more distinct and forward in the mouth and on the chopsticks.
     
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  10. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    Again in a perfect world that would be the preference. However the reality is some places simply do not have the resources, be it burner space on the line, time, skill sets, storage, ect. to be able to drop fresh pasta down every time. I've seen people take the chill out of pasta using baskets in a water bath on the steam table before dropping in a sauce. This method works well enough but it would take quite a while to cook from fresh in the water bath. Also if you have multiple order or different pastas at different times you may not have the ability to keep things paced right with said above limited resources. It all depends on the person and place I guess but the information presented here was in response to the OP question. At the end of the day I would gather the consensus from the comments is that the dish is not going to be ruined simply by rinsing off a pasta.
     
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  11. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    Dish might not be ruined, but perhaps we should discuss in more detail reasons not to rinse -we've touched on it, but haven't really been explicit: as I understand it, the starch that you would rinse off is integral to the sauce and how it sticks to the noodle. If you rinse the starch away, the sauce won't stick to the noodle as well. As well, the small amount of pasta water that you would add to the sauce along with the noodles thins the sauce and adds saltiness -it's beneficial to the taste and consistency of the sauce.
     
  12. mike9

    mike9

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    Lets get some perspective here - We have home and Pro giving different answers to the same question - apples and oranges IMO. What type of environment is the OP hinting at? If pro then this should have been posted in the Pro section. However - as to the question of starch - how would you kill the cooking without a cold rinse given that most homes and very few restaurants have a blast chiller? We used to cook loads of pasta then rinse, portion and chill for later use. Always had a pot of water at the simmer for reheating - this was in the early 70's. I'm sure things have changed, but really? . . . .
     
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  13. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    yes, the cooking time question remains, I gather that you would adjust the timing to account for not rinsing in cold water, i.e. rather than pulling at al dente, pull just before al dente? Just assuming here, I don't actually know.
     
  14. someday

    someday

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    Again, that still doesn't make sense because the same amount of effort and the same motions are required to re-heat a portion of fresh pasta as it is to just cook to order. Fresh pasta does not take "quite a while" and cooks in a couple minutes.

    Is rinsing pasta going to "ruin" a dish? Maybe and probably not. But your dish will be noticeably better without rinsing so why do it? It's like eating a salad drizzled with dressing vs. a salad nicely tossed and dressed. Which is better?
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I rinse my rice noodles for pho and similar. Though not as an act of removing something. Rather that they stick together into clumps larger than wanted for portion sizes and a quick rinse gets them to release each other.
     
  16. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    I made fresh pasta with a bechamel-based sauce last night; didn't rinse the pasta, just threw it straight into the sauce. I believe there was a noticeable difference in the consistency and how the sauce coated and adhered to the noodles, I felt it was a more silky and sumptuous experience :). BUT, I don't usually have pasta with bechamel-based sauces, so perhaps it is more a function of the sauce! I will keep trying.
     
  17. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Fresh pasta should be rinsed if it's going to be in a broth-based soup, or the starch will cloud the bowl.
     
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  18. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    Some of the motions may be similar, but waiting a few minutes for fresh pasta to cook versus 30 seconds in a hot water bath could be a considerable difference in dish execution time. Not to mention you would have to keep emptying and refreshing a pot with water and bring to a boil through the night as the pasta water would get very starchy with constant amounts of fresh pasta thrown in. That also goes back to the storage issue. I would think a lot of restaurants with limited storage space would have a harder time storing uncooked fresh pasta than portioned cooked pasta. This point also goes to consistency, if you want to argue semantics of the discernible difference an average diner will notice between pasta cooked to order or precooked pasta than you would also have to take into account that a line cook on a busy night might not always throw consistently weighed portions to boil. This is a harder way to keep track of things like food costs and waste. If you did have a system in place for portioning fresh pasta before cooking to be used later, you would still need to find a place to store it during service that wouldn't compromise it.
     
  19. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    Did you add any pasta water to the sauce? Also did you make the sauce from start to finish or use a sauce base that was previously made? I think another aspect to this all that is worth mentioning is that some dishes will be able to have their sauce made and finished right away and some will be bases that are either finished to order reheated.
     
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  20. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    No, I didn't really add any pasta water to the sauce, but the noodles were obviously dripping as I threw them in the sauce, and yes, it was a from-scratch sauce.