Seriously: Turn Off the Heat Under the Pasta and Save Money

Cooking pasta tonight?  The dried stuff?  Just like millions of folks in the UK, let alone the rest of the world?  Save yourself some money and the planet some wasted energy.  Dried pasta does not need to be boiled over gas or electric, no it really does not.  If we all did what I am suggesting below, I reckon we could save an entire power station or more worth of energy.   Here is how:

  • Boil a couple of electric kettles of water, depending on how much pasta you intend to make.  Boiling in a kettle is a lot cheaper, faster and releases less CO2 (source: British Gas) than boiling water in a pan on the stove top.
  • Put the boiled water in a large pan on your stove over a medium heat, it will take seconds to re-boil.
  • Add pasta, salt if you do this anyway, bring to the boil, again this should take seconds
  • Put a lid on the pot and switch off the heat.
  • Leave the pasta in the hot water for its regular cooking time plus one minute.  You can go back and give it a prod and a stir as you might usually.  Test it prior to draining if you find this method hard to believe. I guarantee you it will be absolutely perfect, and you will have saved what, 10, 12 or 14 minutes of needless energy consumption.
  • Further hint: do not bother purchasing one of those “incredible” plastic tubes advertised by the cooking gadget people, since these make your pasta in exactly the same way as this method.  So, any further purchase is wasting even more manufacturing resources and your money.

I have been cooking pasta like this for two years.  Here is my energy-saving calculation:

  • How many times I make pasta in a month?  Average 8 = 96 times a year.
  • Average length of cooking time = 13 minutes
  • Total gas saved in two years = 2500 minutes worth, or 41.5 hours.

And all that saving by little me, in my own little house.  Can you imagine what that would rack up to in one city, let alone worldwide?  I thought I was a bit slow on the uptake on this and that is was something probably everyone else was already doing, but most people I have asked are amazed that you don’t need to simmer pasta at all.  Obviously the blog is the place to try to promote this into a much wider community so please do pass this on if you try it out yourself and think that what I am saying is real.  We ought to start a campaign to have the instructions changed on pasta packaging.

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Categories: Oddities and Food Stories, Pasta Recipes

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2 Comments on “Seriously: Turn Off the Heat Under the Pasta and Save Money”

  1. Piana
    June 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Wow. I feel so stupid, I just had this epiphany this very evening whilst cooking spaghetti so I rushed to google to see why I hadn’t ever heard this tip before. Lo and behold, yours is literally the only mention I could find. What the hell?!?

    • June 29, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      I know! Weird isn’t it? The only thing I would add is that for noodle pasta you need to give it a stir round a couple of times to stop it clumping. Pass the link on if you like…and thanks for commenting.

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