Best way to measure Spaghetti/Linguini portions?
Well, one obvious answer is to look at the number of portions in the box. (This is found in the nutrition information.) Then divide the amount in the box by the number of portions.
I just pulled down a box of linguine from my shelf. One pound yields eight 2 oz. portions. Which means all you have to do is divide in half three times. It won't be exact, but you'll get pretty close.
(To get exact, you could always count the number of noodles then divide by eight. But that's WAY too much work.)
Italians weigh it and it's really the only fail-safe way. Using a kitchen scale with a big bowl on top should work for just about any pasta shape. 40g for a small portion, 100g for a big plate full. Cooked volume will depend on the type of pasta, but with spaghetti for example about 55g of dry will produce about 1 cup of cooked spaghetti.
This agrees with @Martha: 2oz = about 57g and 1 cup cooked sounds like a reasonable serving size. Even if I would eat more :-)
Italian "weighing" in: all Italian households I've ever visited weigh the pasta using a scale.
Italians do use weight because in Italy there isn't a measure of capacity used in cooking that is similar to the American cup; if an Italian recipe makes a reference to "1 cup of milk," it's not referring to an exact quantity.
@kiamlaluno, how would you measure spaghetti or other hard pasta in a cup? :-) True you don't often find measuring cups in Italy but that's for a good reason. Weight is a far more accurate measure than volume.
@Todd Chaffee You don't find those measuring cups because Italians are not used to think in volume units; it is not because we are smarter. I have some American cooking books, and none of them reports a single weight. The weight is then not constant as there are some foods that are subject to weight changes.
To say it all, if you go in an Italian house, you will not probably see people measuring their spaghetti using a scale, if not in the case they are following a diet.
@kiamlaluno, I lived in Italy for 5 years, and Italians _are_ smarter about cooking. US cooks often have trouble with baking because volume measurement of flour is so inaccurate. The few professional cooks I know in the US use weight to measure. This article gives some interesting info about how people measure food around the world. BTW, check your American cook books for ounces (oz). For non-liquids, such as butter, that is a weight. For liquids it's volume! Crazy.
@Todd Chaffee I live in Italy since I was born 41 years ago. I can assure you it's not a matter of do something the smarter way; it's just a matter of habits. As far I can see, there are pros and cons using the weight or the volume.
@Todd Chaffee That's the wrong dialect: I speak Eastern Lombard, not Western Lombard. `:-)` _Te la desmeted de ciapam en giro?_
Actually, I have seen a novelty measuring cup (in an Italian gift-shop, but I'm not positive it was italian-made) that had levels for all the traditional short pasta shapes (penne, farfalle, etc.). Given the variations in packing density, not to mention the difference in sizes between manufacturers, this is a very crude method at best to estimate pasta quantity.
@ntt, realized after I answered this that you asked for a *simple* method without tools. Which is why I voted @Martha's answer up :-)
For spaghetti or other pastas with a small cross sectional area:
- hold a bunch of dry pasta in one hand and a beer bottle top in the other
- fit the end of the spaghetti bunch into the beer bottle top
- this amount is a small-medium sized portion for 1 person
...although like Todd Chaffee said, I would eat more :)
I was wondering the same thing, and then I thought about it and this is the way that I do it...
One cup of cooked spaghetti noodles is one portion. One plate or half of 2-cup bowl is about 1 cup or 125g of spaghetti noodles. Unless you really are hungry you probably cannot eat more than 2 whole portions.
fyi... 1 portion of noodles is about 200 calories.