What if we told you your pasta spoon could do more than just scoop, stir, and serve? According to the Internet, it can. Apparently, the hole in the middle of your pasta spoon can double as a portioning tool. It’s just wide enough to fit the right amount of spaghetti for one person. There’s a catch, though—this handy hack only works for a specific size of pasta spoon.
Just in case the spoon trick doesn’t work for you, we’ve come up with a list of ideas to help you better portion out your perfectly cooked pasta (that is, so long as you don’t make these pasta cooking mistakes!):
Compare to a quarter
According to the USDA, the proper pasta portion is 2 ounces. If you’re making longer noodles (think spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine), you can measure the right amount by holding the pasta up to a quarter. Once a bunch of noodles equals the diameter of the coin, you have the recommended 2 ounces.
Put it in your palm
To measure out 1 cup of dry pasta, use your palm as a guide (fill a closed fist). This works best for smaller noodle shapes like macaroni or rigatoni.
Save a soda bottle
While the hole in a pasta spoon may vary, the size of a soda bottle opening will always be the same. This makes it a perfect pasta-portioning tool. Fill the diameter tightly with dry noodles to determine how much to cook for one. (Hint: Rinse out your soda bottle first!)
Stick with the scale
If you have a food scale, you’ll be able to most accurately measure your pasta portion. Aim for 2 ounces of cooked pasta for a single serving or 1 ounce of dry pasta. Don’t have a food scale? Try this chart to determine the proper pasta portion.
Fit in your fingers
This method is less reliable than the others (after all, everyone has different size hands) but it’s a *handy* trick in a pinch. Make a circle with your index finger and thumb, then fill the center with long noodles. That will be your portion prior to cooking.
We learned this hack from Italian wonder woman (and chef) Giada De Laurentiis. She recommends taking cooked spaghetti noodles and filling a muffin tin with them. Each spot equals one portion of pasta. You can then stick them in the fridge to have for the week or put in the freezer for quick dinners. Try these other food hacks to get dinner on the table faster.
Divide and conquer
Each pasta box will have the number of recommended servings included on the nutrition label. If, for example, a box of penne says it has 8 servings, divvy out the box into 8 separate piles and place them in Ziploc baggies. The next time you want to whip up a delicious penne and smoked sausage meal, you can just grab a bag out of the pantry. Now, learn the secret ingredient you need to make the perfect pasta sauce.
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