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Cooking (and retrieving) pasta in a pasta colored pot


KennethT
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Before I moved to a new apartment, I would cook pasta in my All-Clad LTD pot with stainless interior.  Even when the water became cloudy from the starch, it was still easy to see the pasta (let's say a penne shape) against the stainless background to fish it out with a spider. 

 

The new apartment has no gas service (to the entire building) and I'm now cooking on induction, so the LTD pot is out.  And being that I'd rather not spend more money right now (I will eventually get a proper induction compatible stainless pot), for now, I'm boiling the pasta in a Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven.  I have no complaints about the boiling - the induction gets that water to a boil in the amount of time that I'd still be able to bathe in the gas heated pot, but since the enameled interior is a cream type color, it's practically impossible to see an errant few pieces of pasta swimming around unless they're right near the surface.

 

Any ideas, other than "just get a new pot already!"?

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14 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Any ideas, other than "just get a new pot already!"?

What implement are you using to retrieve the pasta?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

Hmmm. Hard to think of anything that would work any better. You may have  to sacrifice a little to the pasta gods!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 minute ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Sorry for being so dim but why do you need to look at the pasta?     I leave it at a boil while attending other parts of the meal and in about 8 or 9 minutes, pull out a piece.    Done, yay or nay.    Proceed to drain or continue cooking.   

I don't dump the pasta into a colander because many times I make a few (sometimes 4) portions at a time, but the pan that I use to cook the pasta in the sauce at the end only holds 2 portions comfortably. So I remove the pasta with a spider (see link above) to keep the starchy water in the pan for A) using to add to the sauce and B) cooking the next batch.  When using said spider, I would ideally like to see the pasta because otherwise it's like fishing in the black lagoon.  It seems like there's always an errant few pieces laying at the bottom once I'm ready to clean everything up and I do wind up pouring out the water.  One might say "what's the matter with leaving a few pieces behind?" but that would be the topic of another post entirely.

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6 minutes ago, KennethT said:

It seems like there's always an errant few pieces laying at the bottom once I'm ready to clean everything up and I do wind up pouring out the water.

Set those reluctant pasta pieces aside, allow them to dry thoroughly and put them back in the box. Their time will come eventually. 
Consider getting your eyes checked - time for glasses?  Or new ones?

Invest in better lighting?  

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18 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I don't dump the pasta into a colander because many times I make a few (sometimes 4) portions at a time, but the pan that I use to cook the pasta in the sauce at the end only holds 2 portions comfortably. So I remove the pasta with a spider (see link above) to keep the starchy water in the pan for A) using to add to the sauce and B) cooking the next batch.

Put a heatproof bowl under the colander, and then pour it back.

My scenario isn't exactly the same as yours, but when I want to preserve the starchy cooking water that's how I do it. Admittedly I do only small quantities these days, and it's less practical with a larger pot, but it works for me.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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5 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

Set those reluctant pasta pieces aside, allow them to dry thoroughly and put them back in the box. Their time will come eventually. 
Consider getting your eyes checked - time for glasses?  Or new ones?

Invest in better lighting?  

Or if you are me grow 6 inches so you can see over the top of the pan!

 

But if I’m reading properly then he would have to dump all the pasta water before he’s finished cooking up to four portions? 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

 

But if I’m reading properly then he would have to dump all the pasta water before he’s finished cooking up to four portions? 

Now I'm the obtuse one.   I was thinking that the four portions would be cooked  properly at the same time but that it was portioning and dressing that was his concern.   I transfer out a cup or so of starchy water before removing the cooked pasta on a french skimmer.    And, yes, this works best with extruded or non-linear pasta shapes, but even with them I lose or have to retrieve only several.

eGullet member #80.

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3 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I have pasta inserts for two of my pots, though they are not quite the same as pictured.  Maybe I don't know how to use the inserts, however they invariably result in boil over.  Water percolates up between the insert and the sidewall of the pot.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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So reading back to the beginning post it seems to me this is what we are dealing with:

Kenneth does not have a large pot that will work on his induction range.

He  Intends  to eventually get such a pot. 
In the meantime he’s using an enamelled Dutch oven or something similar. 
The interior enamel is pasta-coloured .

He wants to cook 4 portions of pasta. 
The pot he has will only hold two portions.

He needs to remove all the pasta from his first batch so that he can then cook the second batch. Doesn’t want to waste any pasta. Nor does he want to waste the already heated water

 

But he doesn’t believe that he captures all of the pasta in his spider. He cannot see pasta left in the pot because the inside of the pot is the same colour as the pasta. 
When he is ready to wash the pasta pot he discovers pasta pieces. 

What to do?

I am confident that Ken will take me to task if I have misrepresented him in any way. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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11 hours ago, Anna N said:

So reading back to the beginning post it seems to me this is what we are dealing with:

Kenneth does not have a large pot that will work on his induction range.

He  Intends  to eventually get such a pot. 
In the meantime he’s using an enamelled Dutch oven or something similar. 
The interior enamel is pasta-coloured .

He wants to cook 4 portions of pasta. 
The pot he has will only hold two portions.

He needs to remove all the pasta from his first batch so that he can then cook the second batch. Doesn’t want to waste any pasta. Nor does he want to waste the already heated water

 

But he doesn’t believe that he captures all of the pasta in his spider. He cannot see pasta left in the pot because the inside of the pot is the same colour as the pasta. 
When he is ready to wash the pasta pot he discovers pasta pieces. 

What to do?

I am confident that Ken will take me to task if I have misrepresented him in any way. 

Very close! And thanks for the recap.  The enameled pot will hold much more than 2 portions, but it's the 12" saute pan (on another burner) that I use to cook the pasta in the sauce that only comfortably holds 2 portions. Technically it could hold more, but I'm sure there would be a lot of stuff flying out while flipping/stirring if I tried it.  I guess I could cook all 4 portions together - then, rather than using a saute pan, I could do the final minute or so in a large saucepan/stockpot.  At that point, I could use @Margaret Pilgrim's idea and reserve some pasta liquid and then drain everything into a colander.  It would also save time since I wouldn't need to do it in 2 batches.

 

Food for thought....  thanks all for your replies and ideas

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A half a pound is about 4 servings? We cook that amount in a 4 quart dutch. Or the 3 quart all-clad. Depending on shape. Two servings for dinner and the rest for next day lunches,... maybe a pesto or with beans and a salad type dealio. Olives, etc. 

I put a colander over a big soup bowl in the sink. Drain the pasta, then back into the dutch. Toss sauce in that over the pasta. Enough pasta water in the soup bowl if needed. Scoop out with a coffee cup. 

A recent braised short rib ragu and a braised meatball meal, I did not toss the sauce with the pasta. They were new-to-me pastas, brass extruded, I wanted to taste with a new spice blend...pepper, coriander, lemon peal, smoked chili flake,....just a test for a future seafood pasta. We really liked the pasta with the pepper blend, fresh hit of lemon juice, and a toss of olive oil, then the ragu. Different animal. Nice change.

Lock-down and time off work, we went way off our usual scripted comfort zone. 

(I used a 5 year old gift card from Eataly...no deadline. 200$ in pasta)....that was a fun on-line shopping day

 

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