Nobel prize physicist says you should cook pasta by turning off the burner; Michelin chef disagrees

His Nobel prize was specifically for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales,” not the culinary arts, so take that for what it’s worth.

(There should totally be a Nobel prize for culinary arts though! Innovations in food preparation have a greater practical impact on people’s lives than some of this esoteric stuff.)

The conversation kinda reminds me of this:


Every Italian will have their own little detail, and everyone will loudly argue that any other way is a sacrilege. :wink:

Interestingly, I remember the foam coming over the top of the pot when I was a kid, and needing to blow on it to stop it overflowing, but haven’t seen that in decades. I don’t know whether they changed something in the pasta (or maybe because we used to use Barilla but now I use De Cecco), or because my parents used to fill the pot with more water.

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I’ve read this a dozen times and have no idea what it means. I think @SpeedRacer may be right and the units got mixed, ‘cause most folks don’t even have a pot that size, but wtf is he on about with the “then with a ladle, you remove the water”? I can’t comprehend that even with possible translation errors.


I remember reading about a a pasta company, I don’t remember which one, that has a playlist that matches songs to the suggested cooking times of various types of pasta


This is one of those cases where we should trust the people with actual expertise in their field. So, I’ll trust the chef on the pasta and the physicist on non-food physics. :woman_shrugging:


It’s simple-you scoop out some of the water with a ladle and keep it in a separate bowl to add back to the sauce. When making cacio e pepe, for example, it’s essential that the water not be too hot or the cheese will cook and become stringy.


For those talking about the litre per ounce thing, I think there is something missing from the discussion that the article in no way clears up.

Something about cold cooking and removing water as it heats up on the stove.

But Chef Antonello Colonna replied that, with this technique, the pasta is chewy. From the point of view of taste and palate, cold cooking would be better.
It works like this: you put a liter of water in the pot for every ounce of pasta, then with a ladle, you remove the water as it heats up on the stove.

Yeah, I understand using the starch water for thickening/emulsifying (not sure if it’s actually emulsifying), so I guess maybe they were to a specific dish?

Well, shit. Back to square one. :man_shrugging:t2:

I’m just sticking with my method.


Mine would foam and overflow until I started reducing the heat after the initial boil. Setting the burner to where it continues to slightly boil rather than full rolling boil drastically reduces the foam creation for me.


Barilla has taken their side.


It is nothing to do with surface tension. I was told it would coat the pasta pieces slightly so they would be less likely to stick together (or to the pan). I find stirring the pasta occasionally has the same effect.

Interstingly, the oil-adding approach that is debated above would likely reduce the foaminess due to decreased surface tension caused by the oil.

Source: Benjamin Franklin


I just order take-out


The Italian concept of pasta doesn’t contemplate oil in the cooking water, except to curse the idea.


I do this with spaghetti after draining the water for that reason. I’ll use either olive oil or plain butter, depending on my mood. (Olive oil adds a hint more flavor)

BT,DT, but it imparts an odd texture to the pasta. One of the goofy kitchen gadgets I bought was a microwave dish for cook a single box of mac n cheez; you dump the pasta in, fill with room temp water to the fill line, and microwave for x minutes, then finish as per box directions. The same goes for cooking pasta in an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker appliance.

And oil prevents the sauce from clinging to the pasta.


I don’t know if its more efficient than using a stove (it might be) but i would never actually use a microwave to cook pasta if i had the choice of preparing it the normal way. That said i’m not above using a microwave to make tea, much to the dismay of my British and Asian friends. I’ve also made instant ramen in the microwave and turns out just fine, but the type of instant noodles i make these days are nicer so i prefer to make them on the stove.


Not really; It’s more the novelty factorr, or a case of not having enough (mental/physical) spoons to even make bachelor chow (aka mac n cheese with protein and veggies mixed in), no leftovers, and am flat broke.

I at least keep a stash of somewhat nicer ‘ramen-esque’ things that cook in a microwave for work lunches or in those instances along with actual packages of ramen. I’ve actually done the gage of boiling water in the microwave for cooking ramen in, though. (I refused to use the coffee pot for that, because coffee flavored ramen is a no-go.)

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And while we’re at it, scrap the “Nobel” prize for economics. Which isn’t an original Nobel prize anyway; just a sparkling commendation.