The internet is full of bad ideas, and the latest food "hack" to go viral is no exception. A post showing photos of a colander being placed over a boiling pot of pasta, which is then all inverted over the sink to drain the cooking water has been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. And people have been losing their minds, thinking that everything they’ve ever known is a lie.
“THATS [sic] HOW YOURE [sic] SUPPOSED TO DO IT??” @woahaydrian commented.
No, buddy, that’s NOT how you’re supposed to do it.
As a cook myself, this just seemed pointless. You aren’t saving on dishes, or time, or making anything better. After consulting with the experts though, I’ve learned it’s also dangerous.
Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef and pasta expert, told TODAY Food she thought it was a "clever trick," but, she added, "[It's] a tad bit risky and dangerous if you don't have a perfectly fitting strainer and pot combination. Plus it makes me sad to see that beautiful pasta water go down the drain!"
Considering there’s a decent chance you’re drinking wine while cooking pasta (is that just me?), odds are that something goes wrong. And on top of that, your spaghetti may never reach its true potential with this technique.
“There’s actually a ton wrong with this,” said James Briscione, director of culinary research for the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. “Let’s start from a safety perspective. There’s a high risk of burning yourself, either on the pot or with the water when you pour it out. If you aren’t holding it securely, you have a good chance of pouring pasta into your sink, which is not hygienic. Depending how hot your pot is, there’s also a good possibility of melting the colander and ruining your pot.”
So, what's the right way to do cook pasta?
"Scoop it directly from the water into your sauce — you want to get a little of that starchy water into your sauce to improve the flavor and texture of the sauce and also help the sauce hold on to the pasta better,” said Briscione. (Watch this video for legit pasta-cooking tips.)
To do that, you can you can use tongs or a spider (no, not talking daddy long legs) to grab the pasta, then use a ladle or measuring cup to capture some pasta water for your sauce.
If that seems like too much work, just go basic. Put the colander in your sink, grab the pot with potholders and dump the contents in the colander, reserving a little pasta water.
As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!