You have known it since you cooked your first plate of spaghetti: salting the cooking water is essential to obtain good pasta. First, because salt is a great flavor enhancer, but also (we know less) because salt limits the gelatinization of starch on the surface of pasta (understand: salt prevents pasta from becoming sticky).
Water / salt / pasta: 1/10/100
For quantities, it is strongly recommended to follow the famous 1/10/100 rule, dear to Italians: for each guest, count 1 liter of water, 10 grams of salt and 100 grams of pasta. A generously garnished salt hand and a large 5-liter saucepan are therefore essential.
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So much for the dosage, but what about the recipe? On this point, the schools clash. Some say that the water should be salted before putting it on the fire, others swear by salting when the water begins to boil. For the latter, this would allow the water to boil more quickly (because the salt water would take longer to reach 100 ° C).
To make this point clear, meticulous cooks took the time to compare the time it takes for salted and unsalted water to come to a boil, using a cooking thermometer. Against all expectations, they did not observe any notable difference: the two waters took the same time to reach 100 ° C.
Salt afterwards … to preserve your pan bases
The moment when you salt therefore has no impact on the cooking time of the pasta. However, we still advise you to salt the pasta water after boiling. The reason ? It has nothing to do with the cooking time but rather with the preservation of your equipment: poured into cold water, the salt falls to the bottom of the pan, has a corrosive effect on the metal and can cause black stings. Conversely, boiling water stirs the salt, preventing it from settling at the bottom of the container and damaging it. In short, if you care about your pots, add salt afterwards.