Martha Stewart's Hack For Decreasing Steam While Straining Pasta

Cooking pasta is not without its perils. According to Allrecipes, whether you are making your favorite homemade pasta puttanesca with octopus and beer or spaghetti and meatballs, there are plenty of opportunities to mess up. The noodles can be over and undercooked, leaving you with something that's either slimy and limp or tackier than al dente. Then there's not boiling enough water to cover your noodles, oversalting the water, and running cold water over your pasta after you drain it. These are pasta fouls that can leave those eating it less than satisfied. 

But that's not the only pasta preparation faux pas that may leave you red in the face. Peruse a few cooking forums, and you might stumble across a conversation dedicated to advice on how to dump pasta water without the steam smacking you in the face. As luck would have it, Martha Stewart, the domestic diva with a whole lot of savoir-faire, has a hack for decreasing that pesky steam when draining pasta.

Run some cold water

In an instructional video that walks viewers through making mac and cheese, Martha Stewart shares that if you don't want a facial when dumping your pasta water, simply run cold water next to the strainer as you do it. Stewart cautions that you do not want to run the water over the pasta in the colander but rather right alongside it, noting this will temper the intensity of the steam. 

Of course, this is not a one size fits all hack. One contributor on the Seasoned Advice forum shared that for them, this method did not adequately reduce the amount of steam that rose, and they experienced discomfort on their hands and face. Other members of the forum chimed in with a couple of other thoughts to help with this pasta-cooking obstacle. One suggested using a pasta pot strainer that fits into the pasta pot, so it can be allowed to cool longer before straining. Another warned pasta makers not to hold their hands or faces directly over the strainer and to slowly tip the pot for a slower drain. And for folks with very sensitive skin, the responder suggested wearing oven mitts to protect the hands when draining the pasta water.