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If pasta can be cooked in the sauce, why do people usually cook it in water?

My mother used to “Blanche” her pasta. This involved rinsing it in warm water after it had been already over boiled. It never touched the sauce until it hit the plate, which would have pools of water circling the main course like a moat. Since she would break the pasta there be what looked like comically long grain mushy rice covered in watery red nastiness with pieces of ground beef. Let’s just say I thought Olive Garden was a fancy pants restaurant for a long time.

I’m happy to report that I have learned to make much better pasta and sauce than she ever has or ever will. I’ve learned that blanching is not a technique for noodles of any kind. You WANT to retain the starches, not wash all the goodness out. That’s where the flavor is. Also, warm tap water? Warm tap water has lead, 99% of the time. Never consume warm tap water. That’s crazy town and probably explains a lot actually. Don’t make tea with hot tap water either. That’s not a life hack. That’s a cup of toxic shit and you just saved a whole 3 minutes not boiling water. Idiotic. Oh yeah, boiling…

The best way I’ve found is to start with the noodles in the cold water, bring to a boil until noodles are slightly pliable and then strain very lightly and transfer to sauce, which should have been simmering at least 20 minutes (an hour of simmering wouldn’t be outrageous) by now. Lightly straining allows some of the starches from the pasta water to help thicken the sauce. Dammit, mom. From here, you’ll allow the pasta to cook in the sauce another few minutes before serving. Refrain from stirring much as you want to keep your strands whole.

Quora isn’t a cooking class but I hope these tips help.

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