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When to Substitute Fresh Pasta for Dried Pasta

By Andrew Janjigian Published

Many cooks assume that a good-quality fresh pasta is always the best choice and may substitute it in recipes calling for dried. Here’s why that may not be a good idea.

Because fresh pasta is made from eggs and white wheat flour, it has a tender, delicate texture, which makes it less versatile than dried pasta. The latter is made from water and semolina flour, which gives it a stronger gluten structure and a sturdier texture. Always use fresh pasta in recipes that call for it, as the success of the dish likely depends on it.

Use these guidelines when deciding whether to substitute fresh pasta for dried.

DO DON'T

Do feel free to substitute fresh pasta for dried when serving it with sauces that have a fine, uniform texture, such as pesto or ground meat ragus. Because cooked fresh pasta doesn’t absorb water like dried does, be conservative when adding pasta cooking water to the accompanying pasta sauce, or the sauce might end up being too loose.

Don’t substitute fresh pasta for dried in recipes that require vigorous stirring of pasta with sauce to release starch and create a creamy consistency (such as cacio e pepe); such stirring can break fresh strands.

Do use 24 ounces of fresh pasta for every 16 ounces of dried.

Don’t substitute fresh pasta in dishes with large components such as broccoli or sausage. Because of its softer texture, fresh pasta tends to clump, so the components won’t combine evenly.

Recipes to Make with Fresh Pasta

Recipe Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Peas

An ingredient from Switzerland—not Italy—takes this classic to a new level.

Recipe Weeknight Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce

Half a dozen meats and hours of pot watching make a lush, deeply savory version of this Italian ragu. We wanted those results with fewer ingredients in half the time.

Recipe Basil Pesto

To balance the flavors, bruise the basil and toast the garlic.

Recipes to Make with Dried Pasta

Recipe Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio e Pepe)

With just three main ingredients (cheese, pepper, and pasta), this Roman dish would be the best quick meal we ever tasted. As long as we could keep the sauce from clumping.

Recipe Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

An overload of fat makes a smooth, stable sauce for this classic Roman pasta. But could we dial back the fat and still have a velvety consistency?

Recipe Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This restaurant-chain classic can be as off-putting as a bad horror movie: drab colors, tough meat, and a main character—the pasta—with no bite.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.