Fresh pasta is not always the best pasta

I do like freshly made pasta, but I do not believe it is always the best way to go. Whether cooking at home or in a restaurant kitchen, there are times when dry pasta works better in the recipe. Do you find this to be true?

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If you’re doing something like carbonara, cacio e pepe, or similar, I find dried pasta much easier to work with. Those dishes usually involve under-cooking your pasta and then finishing it in the sauce itself, using pasta water to add free starch to help emulsification of the fat and thickening it. Dry pasta has a much more flexible time window where the pasta will be cooked enough that it can finish in the sauce.

Fresh pasta, depending on the type, can take only a minute or 3 to cook. That means you have to REALLY get the timing right as to when to pull it from the initial boil and how long it can sit in the sauce before turning to gloppy, overdone mess.

I find fresh pasta is the thing when, for instance, I have some really NICE cheese (say, an aged manchego w/ truffle). Make fresh pasta. Toss with butter or olive oil in a warm metal bowl. The water clinging to the noodles will be sufficient to make a nice slick coating. Then shave on cheese to your liking.

Basically, if I can cook the pasta almost to done before dressing it, it’s good for fresh. If I have to consider doneness in stages, dry is easier.



Of course it’s true. As lectroid says, some recipes won’t work with fresh pasta. Any dish that’s saltado in padella requires dry semolina pasta. You can’t get the delightful texture of al dente dry semolina pasta with fresh egg noodles.