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Oil For Pasta Water

Asked by Mandygold. Answered on 25th August 2018

Full question

Should I add oil to boiling water when cooking pasta or after cooking or not at all? My pasta always sticks together.

Our answer

Nigella's book NIGELLISSIMA has many wonderful pasta recipes and suggests that you should cook pasta in plenty of well-salted boiling water. We don't add oil to the water but it is a good idea to give the pasta a brief stir once or twice during cooking, to make sure that it is not sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Usually the pasta is tossed with a sauce after draining and this will prevent it from sticking together.

If you are cooking pasta for a salad then you can toss the pasta with a small drizzle of olive oil after cooking and this will help to prevent the pasta from sticking together. If you are serving the pasta with sauce then we suggest warming the sauce in a large, shallow pan. Cook the pasta until al dente and start checking the pasta a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time suggested on the pasta packaging, or cook the pasta to your own liking. Before draining the pasta carefully scoop out a cupful of the pasta cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the pan of warm sauce and mix or toss together for a minute or two over a low heat, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is becoming too dry. Transfer the pasta to warm plates to serve. You may like to try Nigella's quick Linguine With Lemon, Garlic And Thyme Mushrooms or the classic Penne Alla Vodka.

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