The Penny Trick For A Perfect Serving Of Pasta Every Time

Close up of pasta over a pot
Close up of pasta over a pot - Christopherbernard/Getty Images

A penny is not just for your thoughts, it's also perfect for measuring single portions of pasta. If you've ever had one of those moments where you only wanted to make one serving of spaghetti and meatballs, you know that measuring pasta can be tricky. But if you don't have a kitchen scale, don't worry. There's a clever hack to help you measure roughly the same amount using a penny.

A box or package of pasta, like fettuccini, angel hair pasta, or linguini, generally contains 16 ounces of these long noodles. If you're making a single serving of a classic spaghetti cacio e pepe you'll need only about two ounces. To make a smaller version, your pasta should fit inside the perimeter of your penny when you are holding the noodles straight up and bunched together. Thankfully, if you don't have this type of change on you, there is another coin and other various methods you can use.

Read more: The Best Kitchen Gadgets You Can Buy

Use A Quarter For Slightly Bigger Plates

Spaghetti on a plate
Spaghetti on a plate - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

If you want to make a slightly larger portion of a creamy chicken alfredo pasta, a quarter might be the better measurement tool. The process is the same as when you use a penny, as you'll want your noodles to fit within the borders of the coin. That said, not all kinds of pasta are created equal.

A quarter is often lauded as being two ounces but you are likely going to get more than a single serving. While using coins to determine the perfect amount of noodles to use for single servings is a great way to eliminate wasteful overcooking, some varieties are wider, thicker, or have a larger diameter than others. This is something to keep in mind as you evaluate your pasta and experiment with your extra change to find just the right amount for each meal.

Other Ways To Measure Noodles

Mac and cheese in a bowl
Mac and cheese in a bowl - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

If you want to get really fancy when measuring long noodles, you can invest in a cool pasta tool for your kitchen called a pasta measurer. This long stick is marked with pre-measured holes that measure grams of pasta. If you don't have this device, you can also get creative and use the top of a one-liter soda bottle to measure. Bunch the noodles together and place them in the opening until it's filled in, which will amount to approximately one serving. If in a pinch, you can also make a circle with your pointer finger and thumb which is about the size same size, and just eyeball the amount.

But if you are measuring short types of pasta like macaroni or rotini for a baked mac and cheese or a pasta salad, break out your measuring cups. A half a cup of these dried noodles is also equal to a single serving. Of course, if you are opening a package or box of your favorite pasta shape and you know how many servings it contains, you can always divide your pasta into equal amounts accordingly and place individual servings in plastic bags that are tightly sealed until you are ready to use.

While most of these methods are not an exact science, they will give you a fairly accurate measurement of just how much pasta you want to eat when dining alone.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.