Cooking Pasta In This Simple Way Would Save Billions Of Gallons Of Water

If you ever wondered how you could save water and help the environment from the comfort of your kitchen, it turns out there’s a simple way to cook pasta using virtually no water.

Many Americans pour hundreds of gallons of water down the drain every year just to cook pasta, one of the most basic and easiest foods to prepare, not to mention popular.

And that’s a problem because a popular food means people are going to continue filling pots with water to cook the delicious noodles so they can top it with their favorite sauces and devour it.

Of course, that’s a bad thing at a time when water insecurity is a growing issue that is set to become a worldwide crisis as global temperatures continue to rise and droughts become more common and more severe.

Furthermore, extracting water from the environment only to pour most of it down the drain is wasteful and negatively impacts the environment, just as Nestle continues sucking water out of precious waterways across the country to sell it at a huge profit while ecosystems suffer for it.

But, if Americans are willing to try something new to save water, there is a way they can cook pasta without using very much water at all.

David Tamarkin loves to cook pasta, but he also wanted to do his part to save the planet by reducing his water usage in the kitchen.

“For the last couple of months I’ve been experimenting with using less water in my cooking,” he wrote for Epicurious. Boiling was the obvious place to start—the ratio of water to food when performing a task as mundane as boiling potatoes has always seemed excessive, histrionic even. So I switched to steaming, a change that exchanges several quarts of water for less than a cup, and is faster to boot.”

And so, Tamarkin started steaming just about anything, but was reluctant to try it on pasta out of fear that “the great Italian cooks of yore would start spinning in their graves.”

Instead of testing it himself, he asked the Epicurious Test Kitchen to try it first.

“In a series of tests, they found that a pound of pasta, which is typically cooked in roughly five quarts of water, cooked just as well in half that amount,” Tamarkin reported. “Then they reduced the water to a third of those five quarts—again, the pasta was fine.”

So, it’s very possible to cook pasta in far less water and still achieve the same results.

For shorter pasta noodles, Tamarkin learned a method that only required a little water added to sauce.

That’s right, he cooked the pasta with the sauce.

But considering that some American households will use over 100 gallons of water a year just cooking pasta alone, we wanted to see if we could remove the water altogether. So we tried cooking the pasta right in the sauce. And it worked! Well, kind of. This method, which is best for short pastas such as penne, requires adding enough water to the sauce to cover the noodles (the added water cooks out of the sauce as it boils). But that’s still a huge water savings—not to mention the energy you save by not having to heat up a huge pot of water to boil, and the money you save not using that energy.

Not only can families save more energy, water and money, the pasta is infused with the flavor of the sauce, creating a richer taste. If we can perform every day cooking without using as much water, it would go a long way toward conserving the resources we have left. And while trying something new may be a little concerning, this new method of cooking pasta is necessary and may even make your taste buds sing.

After all, a new way can be just as delicious, or more so.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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