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Two Minute Pasta?


palo
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I was doing a little reading and it was suggested that you could soak pasta for a couple of hours and then pop it into boiling water for a couple of minutes and presto done! This is regular dried pasta not fresh or ramen. The reasoning was that pasta requires two steps, hydrating and cooking, the hydrating needs the most time and cooking the least.

 

Has anyone heard of this, tried it? What were your reactions?

 

p

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Don't understand. My home made, then frozen ravioli cook from frozen to perfection in two minutes. No soaking!

 

The idea that pasta needs a couple of hours of soaking then two minutes cooking is surprisingly high on my list of the ridiculous ideas of 2020, a year noted for record-breaking ridiculousness.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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I believe this was something postulated by either Modernist Cuisine or Dave Arnold (I don't remember who) - the theory is that when you cook dried pasta, the vast majority of the time in the boiling water is not cooking the pasta, but just rehydrating it.  The cooking is done in the last couple of minutes (as if you were cooking fresh pasta).  So, by soaking overnight, you take care of the rehydrating step in advance.

 

One of the things that they did at the time was using different soaking liquids in order to flavor the pasta.  Other than that (and I don't really see the need for that either), I don't really understand why someone would bother with this.  It requires you to decide to make pasta the day before.  And how much time are you saving?  In the end, getting the pot of water to boil takes a lot longer than cooking the pasta itself.  So unless you're a restaurant where you always have water boiling for pasta, so it reduces the cook time from fire to plate, I don't see the need.

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  • 2 weeks later...
32 minutes ago, weinoo said:

If it was the best, why is there a need to try new and ridiculous things?

The nut job blogosphere and instagram etc is crazy for faster, quicker, no-hassle, - so get take out and leave me alone to cook. 

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i believe alex and aki, the ideas in food people, have discussed this. i find it hit and miss, and there's definitely still timing involved as you can soak them for too long even when cold. it can definitely work, though.

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All I can see with this method is that it leaves one more chance for the soaker and then the cook to fuck up the pasta.

 

Every pasta is different - who knows how long it should soak for, since you're not tasting the soaked pasta? Once it has soaked too long (and once again, how long is too long?), it's mushy - per the linked discussion...

 

Quote

You can't soak the pasta too long because the flour will absorb too much liquid and become mushy--just like when you overcook pasta. You have to strike the right balance so that when you add it to the boiling liquid it cooks quickly without overcooking.

 

However, if you're a good cook, you're tasting your pasta as it cooks, to find it's perfect doneness.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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5 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

So you soak the pasta for a couple of hours, then boli it for two minutes and call it "two-minute" pasta? It took over two hours.

 

Not only that, it involved two entirely different and separate processes.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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My point was more that, while indeed soaking isn't necessary for beans, it can and does (in my experience) lead to more even, faster cooking.  And while it's not impossible, I have never over-soaked beans. The LA times is paywalled.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

So you soak the pasta for a couple of hours, then boli it for two minutes and call it "two-minute" pasta? It took over two hours.


If I remember correctly, the idea, at least for the Ideas in Food folks, was you could soak the pasta early in the day, remove it from the water and store it covered in the fridge so that it's a 2 minute job at service time.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I mean, let's face it - soaking vs. not soaking beans is a discussion that has been had for a long time, amongst many knowledgable food writers, cookbook authors, bean growers, etc.

 

I don't see that same level of interest in pre-soaking pasta. Because it's stupid.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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5 minutes ago, palo said:

I would like to see opinions backed up by facts - who has tried this and the results?

 

p

 

That's my point - we know the ideas in food people and their disciples have. Pasta makers? Italians? Cookbook authors? Russ Parsons?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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18 minutes ago, weinoo said:

My point was more that, while indeed soaking isn't necessary for beans, it can and does (in my experience) lead to more even, faster cooking.  And while it's not impossible, I have never over-soaked beans. The LA times is paywalled.

It is Russ and Steve about not soaking beans in general. My lame attempt at humor.

Edited by heidih (log)
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