Saturday, May 28, 2022

Lazy pasta prep

There are many reasons to try to speed up cooking pasta. Maybe you're too impatient to stand around waiting for the pasta to boil properly and test it periodically. Maybe you like to step away and do something more productive while it's boiling but lose track of time. Whatever the reason, there's a lazier way to do it with less attention, at long as you remember to prep ahead of time. Then you can go straight to preparing the dish.

  • In slide 1 you can see I'm soaking some dry pasta. The minimum time is around two (2) hours of soaking in cold/lukewarm tap water.
    • Don't worry too much if you go overtime.
    • If you completely forgot about it and went to sleep, don't freak out. Just drain the water and try to stir fry it gently in a non-stick pan. As long as it was swimming in water, it shouldn't all glue together. After draining the water, put some oil on them and gently mix/toss, so they don't melt together once they are in the frying pan.
  • After two hours, you can see the pasta has changed colour and turned soft (slide 2). Now it's ready for the final bit of actual cooking, which requires heat. If you don't cook it properly here, it'll taste wrong and be uncooked inside.
  • In slide 3 you can see the cooked pasta. I had put the pasta in a non-stick frying pan and then turned up the heat and stirred it around a bit to heat all sides. The colour has changed and the insides are cooked properly.
    • Obviously this is NOT how you're going to actually cook it. This is just to demonstrate that the final cooking phase requires heat and won't take long at all.
    • If you leave it alone now and let it dry, it'll turn hard again. So don't do that that.
With the pasta soaked for two or more hours, you can basically drain the water and start cooking right away. Maybe pour your pasta sauce onto it, or stir fry it with various ingredients. Whatever the case, as long as the pasta gets heated up, it'll cook into the final phase and taste like the pasta you know.

In slide 4 is the same pasta in slide 1, but left to soak for over 7 hours. It was very soft, but still held together. I put it straight into the non-stick frying pan, which was a mistake. So I recommend you not only put some oil to gently coat them, but also don't let it just sit in the frying pan and stick to the bottom (and therefore flatten on the side).
Slide 5 is the result of just a couple of minutes to pour some BBQ sauce onto the pasta and add some frozen vegetables, then toss repeatedly till the sauce was mixed in and the vegetables were hot. Ready to serve in literally just a couple of minutes.
Firmness was quite good, almost al-dente, but obviously the shape and colour were lacking.

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