Cooking is an art which often requires time and patience, but for those wishing to consume less energy and water, this is a faster and more efficient method of cooking pasta. That is if you don't have an Italian cooking traditionalist in your home.
Due to high concentrations of starches and gluten in pasta, the only type I'm honestly a fan of and consume regularly (at least in the winter) are rice and bean varieties, but this method works for all types. Most of my clients who stop eating conventional white or whole wheat pasta lose weight quickly, increase digestion and reduce inflammation, so if possible, my recommendation is to stick with gluten-free sources such as rice, bean, amaranth, quinoa or buckwheat.
Pasta produced from amaranth has a decreased texture firmness and cooking time, while pasta from quinoa mainly shows increased cooking loss. In buckwheat pasta the least negative effects are usually observed. If you find any pastas with three of these raw materials to one flour blend in the ratio of 60% buckwheat, 20% amaranth and 20% quinoa, the dough matrix is generally better and consistent with conventional.
Pan Cooking - Faster and Energy Efficient
But There Are Some Cons
I've traveled extensively in Italy and this method of cooking pasta (detailed in the video above) is surprisingly very popular. Many Italians are experimenting more with using less water and it's actually common, especially if preparing pasta risottata or when using orzo pasta (which looks like rice) to make the dish thick, since the starch oozes out into the cooking liquid adding texture to the meal without the need for any additional starch.
In conventional preparation, the optimal ratio of water to pasta to remove the maximum amount of starch is 1.1L per 80g-100g of pasta. A rinse to the noodles then ensures any leftover starch is removed.
So this is not an advisable application if you're interested in removing the maximum amount of starch, which these days is a big deal for those trying to consume less gluten and increase digestion.
I've experimented with this method several times and it does work as long as the quantity of pasta being prepared is less than 150g in a moderately sized deep pan. Any more than that and it's simply too much starch and/or the risk of uneven cooking if your pan is not big enough.
Try it for yourself and you may find that it's a great way to save energy, use less water and cook pasta in half the time and to your liking.
Karen Foster is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.