Salt in water for pasta: when and how much?


Should the pasta water be salted before or after boiling? Perhaps until now you have been convinced by urban legends

When it comes to pasta, we Italians have beliefs that are impossible to eradicate. The choice of format and the countless variations of the most classic condiments are the subject of heated discussions, which can often be simply traced back to personal taste. Yet there is a topic that can be explored from a more technical side, namely the salting the pasta.

When and how much does the water need to be salted to cook pasta perfectly? There are two schools of thought, but before adding salt it is good to understand how much it is needed.

How much salt goes into the dough: the correct proportion

There are several factors that can affect the flavor of the dish, such as the type of salt, pasta and sauce that will season the dish, not to mention personal needs and preferences.
However, the golden rule for perfect cooking is represented by the following quantities: 10 grams of salt per 1 liter of water and 100 grams of dry pasta.

When to salt the pasta

The first option is to salt the water immediately to avoid forgetting it later. The second thesis argues instead that adding salt when the water is starting to boil would allow it to reach the temperature more quickly.


In reality, when the salt is added when the water boils, the boil seems to become more powerful only for a physical effect of a few seconds and does not really accelerate the time.

The debate is also about whether water and salt together (H2O + NaCl) have a boiling point higher than pure water. Basically, the water without salt would reach the temperature faster and for this reason it should only be salted at a later time, in order to save time and energy.
Indeed, the salt is cold and must heat up in turn for the resulting solution to boil. The time difference it takes to reach the temperature, however, is insignificant: to be precise, the boiling temperature increases by 0.17 ° C, so water instead of boiling at 100 ° C will boil at 100.17 ° C, that is, a few nanoseconds later.

It would seem that salting the post water before or after boiling makes no difference. Definitely, if you care about the safeguarding of yours pots, it is best to never add salt to cold water. In this way the salt would fall to the bottom without dissolving immediately: in contact with the hottest part, residues that are more difficult to remove would be created, ruining the pot.


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