The family was gathered. We had to make lots of pasta. I said, “Nooooo! Don’t add oil to the water.” Reply, “Can’t boil this much pasta without some oil.” To my amazement, the sauce adhered fine. I tried it last night at home. I boiled without oil and then with oil. Without oil was slightly better. However, with oil was significantly easier to boil without pasta sticking. (My burner can’t keep a rolling boil in very large pots, so I have to stir when boiling pasta.)
The family gathering sauce was mostly vegetables and aromatics sauteed in oil. Yesterday was a tomato-based sauce.
I’ve never heard that cooking pasta with oil will keep the sauce from sticking. I have heard that adding oil is supposed to keep pasta from sticking to itself but I have not had problems with sticking as long as I give the pot a regular stirring at the start. If I recall, I saw an episode of Good Eats a long time ago where Alton Brown was going over whether to add oil to the water to keep it from sticking. I think the conclusion was that oil didn’t really help sticking but what it really helped with was minimizing the boil over that can happen as the starch builds up in the water. He said adding oil was worthwhile for that reason alone. But nothing about oil keeping sauce from adhering to the pasta. That doesn’t make any sense to me when I consider how many sauces I make that are heavy with olive oil. Like aglio olio. The way I make sure that the pasta is well sauced is to use the Italian method of finishing the cooking of the pasta in the sauce.
No oil in cooking water here. I don’t think sauce won’t adhere unless you add a lot of oil in the cooking water.
There is an Italian formula of dried pasta cooking: 100g of pasta needs 1L water. I don’t strictly follow this, but noticed less water will mean uncooked pasta in the specified time marked on the package. Also I also noticed when cooking with stoves with a weak burner, the pasta need to cook longer than the recommended time, this can result in sticking more easily with the extra starch. How about cooking the pasta in 2 pots?
Certain shapes has a tendency to stick especially to the bottom of the pot, like wide linguine, it needs more water and more stirring in cooking.