Here's Why Olive Garden Doesn't Salt Its Pasta Water

Pasta is a rather satisfying dish, isn't it? Whether you like a serving of pasta in tomato sauce or like adding dollops of cheese, it's a versatile staple that works well on most occasions. And if you're eating a well-seasoned plate of pasta at a lovely American-Italian restaurant like Olive Garden, there's not much left to ask for, right? Olive Garden is an Italian-themed eatery that caters to families and offers lots of tempting food options such as their iconic breadsticks, salads, soups, and pasta entrées.

How does Olive Garden keep up with the pasta demand? A line cook at Olive Garden once answered questions from curious Redditors and explained that the restaurant prefers making batches of pasta early every day to make things easier when orders start coming in. They wrote, "We have people in the mornings who cook the pasta and put it on trays and store it in our walk-in for us to use." And yes, it's true that the cooks at Olive Garden don't use salt in the pasta water. This is why.

Olive Garden doesn't want salt to damage their pots

As reported by Reader's Digest, Olive Garden's chefs don't use salt in their pasta because of a simple reason: salt can damage pots and they want to avoid risking the warranty on their expensive kitchen supplies. For years, it's been Olive Garden's policy to avoid salting the pasta while cooking it in order to salvage their pots and make them last longer. 

Folks weren't too pleased with this. According to Quartz, Olive Garden's decision to not salt their pasta water attracted plenty of criticism. In 2014, a hedge fund report pointed out that Olive Garden's decision to avoid such an important step while cooking pasta was "shocking.'" Oops. A Daily Meal piece even highlighted reasons why Olive Garden would be better off switching its pasta routine, stating that the pasta's flavors would be much more satisfying if salted. The Daily Meal even suggested that if you add salt after your pasta water starts boiling instead of beforehand, the pots will be safe from damage. 

It looks like Olive Garden didn't take the cooking tip. According to the Wall Street Journal, "While the company tested salting the water for the new board, it decided that the sauces delivered enough flavor."