Culinary Fun Fact: Adding salt to your cooking water dramatically increases the sodium level of the pasta.

Adding salt to pasta cooking water ensures that the pasta will be flavorful. The preferred ratio of 1 tablespoon of table salt to 4 quarts of cooking water per pound of pasta for the best-seasoned pasta of any shape or size.

Give or take a few milligrams of sodium, all the shapes (spaghetti, linguine, penne, rigatoni, campanelle, and orzo) absorbed about the same amount of salt: 1/16 teaspoon per 4-ounce serving, or a total of ¼ teaspoon per pound of pasta.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) daily for people under age 51 and less than 1,500 milligrams (¾ teaspoon) for those age 51 and older, so even if you’re watching your sodium intake, the amount that pasta absorbs is so small that it’s probably not an issue.

Culinary Fun Fact: Should you should add oil to your cooking water to keep the pasta from sticking together as it cooks.

Adding salt to your pasta cooking water seasons the pasta from the inside out, but you can skip the oil. It will only coat the pasta when you drain it, and that prevents the sauce from adhering.

The best way to keep pasta from sticking is to use a large amount of water. Use 4 quarts of water to 1 pound of pasta. This means you should be cooking pasta in a 6- or 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven. Stirring the pasta for a minute or two after you add it to the boiling water will also help keep it from sticking.

Culinary Fun Fact: The best way to tell if pasta is fully cooked is to throw it against the wall to see if it sticks.

Throwing the cooked pasta at the wall won’t tell you anything about how done it is, but it will make a mess. Instead, take a piece of pasta out of the pot and taste it. Testing the pasta a few minutes ahead of the cooking time prescribed on the box is the most accurate way to determine the doneness as the boxes invariably instruct you to cook it until it’s overdone and mushy, and definitely not al dente, which is an Italian term meaning “to the tooth.”

Noodle Kugel




  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-12 ounce package of wide or extra wide egg noodles
  • 2 Tbsp jarred garlic
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • paprika



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add 3 heaping Tbsp of olive oil to baking dish and place pan in oven for the oil to heat. This will make for a crispier kugel.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook noodles as directed on package, around 7-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs, garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Add cooked noodles to egg mixture and mix gently until completely coated. Remove baking dish with hot oil from the oven and add noodles to the dish. It will sizzle slightly.

Sprinkle top with paprika. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered or until noodles are desired crispiness. Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!

Pacific Northwest Spaghetti

While living north of Seattle in Bellingham, Washington, almost twenty years ago now, I came upon a version of this pasta sauce.  Over the years I have experimented and manipulated the sauce, mostly with the amount of herbs, type and whether fresh or dried.  You can also vary the types of sausage to meet your taste or the taste of your guests.  This recipe feeds a lot of people.  The sauce also freezes very well.  I hope you enjoy.

1 Kielbasa Sausage

1 Pkg. Hot Links

1 Pkg. Smokies

1 Large Can Tomato Juice

1 Large Can Tomato Sauce

1 Small Can Tomato Paste

x Garlic

x Garlic Salt

x Garlic Powder

x Basil

x Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence

x Salt & Pepper

Slice sausage.  Combine all ingredients, with seasonings to taste.  Simmer on low uncovered for a minimum of 6 hours stirring often, or in a crock pot all day.  Serve over Angel Hair pasta.

x = to taste