Pasta – Cooking pasta: when to salt


So, I have always been salting the water first when cooking pasta. Another amateur cook friend insists on salt after boil because it raises boil temperature elsewise. I keep telling him I don't care since it only raises it about one Fahrenheit for an ounce (damn imperial system…) so not a big deal. Just now I heard Gordon Ramsay say "What's the number one rule when cooking pasta? Salt in first" to his son and I wanna know if I can substantiate my claim to salt in first. Does anyone have a clue why he might have said this? Is there some chemistry going on there that can help?
Edit: Not why but when. Stop flagging duplicate please.

Best Answer

From a chemistry perspective there's no difference between the approaches, either way you're ending up with the same amount of water and salt with the same boiling point.

Ramsey is saying salt in first because he's adding the salt to the water before the pasta, not before heating the water. It makes sense to add the salt to the water before heating it because:

  • It's one less thing to do later: by the time you're ready to add the pasta to the water you might be busy, adding the salt to the water first saves you the step later
  • You're less likely to forget to add it: again, if you're busy later you might skip the step