Here’s A Faster Way To Cook Pasta Using Less Water

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How do you cook pasta? Probably just like the Italians do…the old fashioned way. Get out a large pot. Dump a few quarts of water, a pinch of salt, wait ten or so minutes for the water to boil. Then drop in the pasta. To keep the noodles from sticking, you have to hover over the pot and occasionally stir for the duration.

According to Harold McGee, there’s a better way. After a few experiments, he’s found a way to cook pasta faster, and with less water, saving time and energy in the kitchen.

You need to start by selecting the correct sized pan. The pan should be big enough so the pasta can lay flat and “swim” around a bit when it’s softened.

As a tip, Barilla spaghetti noodles are 25cm in length (approximate 9.8 inches) so a 12 inch frying or sauté pan should work. I personally recommend a 5-quart sauté pan. I have this one and use it almost everyday.

  • Fill the frying pan with water, about 1 and 1/2 quarts. Add some salt.
  • Turn on the heat and immediately add the pasta (don’t wait for it to boil).
  • With tongs, move the pasta back & forth so it doesn’t stick together. When softened, you won’t need to do this as much.
  • Continue cooking this way until the pasta is al dente.

So doing this method should save at least a quart of water and a bit of time.  With Americans consuming approximately 1.9 million tons of pasta each year (the average person yearly consumes 15 1/2 pounds of pasta), this could save a lot of water!

the south in my mouth

Photo by naotakem

[h/t: Guff]