Pasta is a common dish, and dried pasta can be used in many different ways. However, if you’re new to cooking or cooking pasta, or if you’re trying out a new dish, you might not know how much pasta to use.
A scale can help you measure the amount recommended in the recipe. If you don’t have a scale, there are still some easy ways to measure the correct amount of pasta.
What is the right serving size for pasta?
A serving size for pasta will depend on how much you want to eat and whether the pasta is the main component of the dish.
However, in general, a single serving of pasta for one person should weigh about 2 ounces. This is the most common serving size listed in the nutritional information for pasta, and it’s also the amount most people feel is filling enough without being too large.
If you don’t have a scale, it can be difficult to estimate what 2 ounces is, as most people aren’t familiar enough with this weight to judge.
Luckily, there are several tricks you can use to get the right amount.
Use Your Fingers or Hand
Most people who frequently cook pasta don’t rely on a scale to measure a serving. Instead, they use their fingers or hand to estimate the correct serving sizes.
This isn’t exact, so it makes it harder if you want to count calories or prep meals for the week, but estimating this way can help you cook the right amount of pasta for a dish, even if you don’t have another way to measure.
If you’re using a long pasta variety, such as spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair, you can use your fingers to measure 2 ounces. To do this, bring your thumb and pointer finger together in a circle.
Tighten the circle until it’s about the size of a quarter. Then, stand your dry pasta up on its end, and pinch it tightly between that thumb and pointer finger.
When the pasta fills the circle you’ve made, you have a serving size of about 2 ounces.
If you’re making macaroni, penne, or any other type of small, shaped pasta, you can use your hand to estimate a serving size. When cooked, a 2-ounce portion of pasta will be about the size of your fist.
In general, when you cook pasta, it will absorb its own volume in water and double in size. Therefore, to measure the correct portion of pasta before cooking, you can estimate a size that’s about half the size of your fist.
Measuring out two portions by estimating them against the size of your fist is often easier. This technique can also help when you’re plating a dish.
Use a Chart
If you want to use the thumb and pointer finger method but want a more exact measurement, you can use a chart. Pasta charts are readily available in grocery stores or online.
These charts have cut-out circles of various sizes along them, and each circle corresponds to a specific serving size or weight.
You can simply pass your long pasta through the circles to measure it with relative accuracy. Many pasta boxes also have serving size charts on their sides or back.
You can also purchase a pasta spoon. These wooden spoons are excellent for stirring pasta as it cooks.
They also have a circle cut out of the middle, and this circle can be used to measure one or two servings of pasta, depending on its size.
Use a Measuring Cup
Measuring long pasta types using a measuring cup can be difficult unless you break the pasta, but it can make measuring shaped pasta types very simple. A cooked serving of pasta should be about 1 cup.
Exactly how much you serve will depend on how closely the pasta packs into the cup, but this is a great starting estimate.
We know that pasta usually doubles in size after it cooks, so if you want to have 1 cup of cooked pasta, you should measure out about half a cup of dried pasta.
A cup measures volume, so this doesn’t convert perfectly to weight, but half a cup is almost equal to 2 ounces of pasta.
Measure Using Sheets
If you’re making lasagna, you probably won’t need to measure individual servings. However, if you want to portion out the lasagna or offer everyone an equal serving, knowing how many servings are in the lasagna can help.
In general, two sheets of lasagna noodles will equal about 2 ounces.
Divide Using the Servings on the Box
When you purchase a box of dried pasta, it will tell you what the serving size is and how many servings are in the box.
For example, you might purchase a box that states that there are eight servings, each weighing 2 ounces.
You can simply empty the box and divide it roughly into eight equal portions. Each portion will equal one serving.