The traditional method for cooking pasta wastes energy, according to columnist Harold McGee. McGee, who writes the “Curious Cook” column for The New York Times, recently investigated whether 4 to 6 quarts of boiling water are really necessary to cook a single pound of pasta.
After experimenting in his kitchen and consulting with Italian chefs, McGee concluded that a pound of pasta can be cooked to perfection using a mere 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water, as long as the cook stirs the pasta for the first 1 or 2 minutes of cooking.
Millions of dollars of wasted energy
“I’ve found that we can indeed make pasta in just a few cups of water and save a good deal of energy,” McGee reported. “Not that much in your kitchen or mine — just the amount needed to keep a burner on high for a few more minutes.”
McGee continued, “But Americans cook something like a billion pounds of pasta a year, so those minutes could add up. My rough figuring indicates an energy savings at the stove top of several trillion BTUs. At the power plant, that would mean saving 250,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil, or $10 million to $20 million at current prices.”
McGee’s article is posted at The New York Times Web site.