APR 19, 2017 3:01 AM PDT

Chemistry and Perfect Pasta


Pasta is a staple in the American diet and while some health experts advice cutting down on carbs, the truth is, people love pasta. It's a delightfully simple food, made with just eggs, water and flour, but there's still some chemistry behind getting it just right. The flour matters. Most pasta is made with durham wheat, and when that is ground it results in semolina flour that has larger particles, so there's not as much protein released. But there is protein in it, from the egg and within the semolina, tiny molecules of which are held together by the starch particles. It's the proteins that keep the starch from going all gummy.

There's some debate about whether the starch of the pasta needs a soluble fat added to keep the clumps away. Adding oil to the boiling water is what some chefs do, but in reality since the oil is heavier than water and denser, it doesn't make much of a difference. Salt is good to add since it give a bit of flavor, semolina being one of the more bland forms of wheat. Finally, save a bit of the starchy water to add as an emulsifier and to balance out the acid in any tomato sauce. Mangia!
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
JAN 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 13, 2020
An Albatross Mother's Work is Never Done
Albatross chicks are naturally flightless, and this increases their dependence on their parental units to bring back food for them to eat. In this chick&rs...
JAN 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 14, 2020
How Much Do You Know About Jupiter?
Jupiter, recognized by most as the largest known planet in our solar system, is a particularly interesting place. So interesting, in fact, that NASA sent a...
JAN 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 29, 2020
Milk, a Controversial Food?
When it comes to foods with a controversial reputation, milk isn't your usual suspect. First and foremost, we humans are mammals and breast milk is a q...
FEB 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2020
How the World's Fastest Cat Compares to the World's Fastest Dog
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal; their powerful hind legs give them incredible launching power and their stretchy spines provide a massi...
FEB 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 23, 2020
NASA Resolves a Minor Hiccup with Voyager 2 Spacecraft's Performance
After spending more than four decades in outer space, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft officially left the heliosphere and entered interstellar space in D...
Loading Comments...