Martha Stewart Has a Controversial Tip for Perfectly Cold Macaroni Salad

Fans of Martha Stewart’s recipes know the homemaking genius for her amazing cooking tips and delicious dishes. Now, it’s nearly summer, and all of the best warm-weather recipes are coming to light. Those who love macaroni salad should try Stewart’s favorite way of making the dish — but she includes a bit of advice that’s incredibly controversial to pasta experts everywhere.

Martha Stewart’s macaroni salad recipe is the perfect addition to any summer cookout

There are plenty of delicious ways to throw together a macaroni salad for any cookout, and Martha Stewart‘s recipe is sure to please. She released a video on her YouTube channel in 2013 showing how she makes her salad. And the recipe is so classic we doubt she’s made many changes to it since.

The video shows Stewart cooking with her friend, Jane Heller. Stewart begins the recipe by cooking her macaroni in a pot of boiling water and straining it once it’s al dente. Then, she removes the seeds from one cucumber before dicing and throwing the pieces into the bowl of cooked macaroni.

To add a whole new flavor component to the macaroni salad, Stewart roasts red bell peppers on her stove. She also adds fresh orange bell pepper and chives to the mix. As for the dressing, Stewart chooses a simple squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. She adds an additional spice, which looks to be nutmeg.

Martha Stewart’s recipe includes 1 controversial tip

Martha Stewart cooking one of her recipes with Natalie Morales in the kitchen on the 'Today' show
Martha Stewart and Natalie Morales on the ‘Today’ show | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

Everything about Martha Stewart’s recipe makes sense. The macaroni looks perfectly cooked, the dressing is creamy, and the vegetables appear fresh. But she explained her tip for keeping the macaroni cold right after it’s boiled — and it’s quite controversial.

According to Stewart, the macaroni should get a rinse once it’s finished cooking. “Usually, I don’t rinse my pasta in cold water,” Stewart explains. “But because it’s been cooked in salted water and because I want it cold to make it into macaroni salad, I ran a little bit of cold water over it.”

Some fans are divided on this decision.

“Never rinse your macaroni before making a salad,” a fan commented on the YouTube video. “You rinse off the starch that holds the dressing. You make it cold with a refrigerator, not rinsing with cold water.”

“DON’T RINSE YOUR PASTA!” another fan wrote. “In order for the dressing to stick, you need a layer of starch covering the pasta. Rinsing the pasta removes the starch so all you’ll get is a cold macaroni soup.”

Don’t get rid of the pasta water, Stewart advises

Martha Stewart cooking on NBC News' 'Today' show
Martha Stewart on the ‘Today’ show | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

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While Martha Stewart’s recipe for macaroni salad calls for rinsing the pasta, Stewart typically advises saving the pasta water. As she explains on her website, the starchy water is perfect for making sauces, as the starch binds and thickens the sauce.

“A skillet of vegetables, pancetta and eggs, or just garlic and butter can be turned into a silky sauce for pasta with the addition of a cup or two of starchy cooking water,” the website notes.

As for when to add the starchy pasta water, Stewart advises pouring a bit into sauces made in a pan. Marinara sauce and Bolognese can really benefit from the starch. And, of course, making sure the pasta is perfectly cooked helps any dish. Before the pasta is even al dente, Stewart suggests removing it from the water and allowing it to finish cooking in a pan of vegetables. Then, the starchy water can be added to assist in finishing the pasta and creating a thick sauce.

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