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Old 04-18-2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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Boiling Pasta with the Lid on

Hello,

A few weeks ago I asked in the Appliance Forum about the inadequacy of a 13,500 btu gas burner on a brand new range that can't boil water properly with the lid off of the pan*--and thanks again for the many responses.

My follow up is about how I can adjust to this poor piece of equipment, specifically: Are there any ill effects from boiling pasta with the lid on, or mostly on? Will it be soggy, sticky, or otherwise affect the texture...? (I assure you there's no danger of the water boiling over, not with this sorry burner.) What about potatoes or any other foods you usually boil in large quantities of water uncovered?

This probably seems like a really naive question; in Web searches, the only reasons I've found for not covering pasta water is to keep the water from boiling over.

Thank you

Steve



If you're a glutton for tangential details:
*Just to give an idea of the poor design of this range, it takes 5.5 (!) minutes to bring a single quart of room temperature water to a rolling boil in a large aluminum sauce pan with a large surface area on the bottom, and it Will Not maintain a rolling boil for a gallon of uncovered water. Technician found nothing wrong with the flame, & the gas pressure is OK.)
Anyone considering buying a Frigidaire gas range, think twice. Shouldn't the flame at least reach the bottom of the grate? I guess the heavy duty grates in this case are all for show.

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Old 04-18-2012, 02:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by riversurf View Post
Are there any ill effects from boiling pasta with the lid on, or mostly on?
Riversurf, I don't think there'se any ill effect from boiling pasta with the lid on. In your case it may be necessary: when the water is boiling and you put the pasta in, the temperature will lower and you'll need to put the lid back on to raise it again.
To properly cook pasta you need plenty of water and a high temperature, to let the water penetrate in the starch, which will increase its volume and, being kept in place by the gluten net, will slightly increase the size of the pasta. When water keeps boiling, pasta dances in the pot and can be touched by water all over its surface, while the temperature helps water reach the core of pasta.
If you use a proper fire you simply don't need to keep the lid on, quite the opposite since it would be more difficult stirring pasta with a fork.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
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Thanks. Glad to hear I'm not doing any "damage" to the flavor or texture. I don't have the option of leaving the lid on, though, because the water will not return to a boil, no matter how long I wait. That's the big--and very frustrating--problem, particularly since the range is new. The burner simply doesn't transfer enough heat to the pot & it just can't boil water without a lid on the pot, won't stay above a simmer.

Steve
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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Just make sure you give the pasta a really good stir before you put the lid on. And should you find it does boil over, just slide the cover off a little bit to the side and the boil over will stop. Just leave a small opening to prevent it from boiling over again.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by riversurf View Post
Thanks. Glad to hear I'm not doing any "damage" to the flavor or texture. I don't have the option of leaving the lid on, though, because the water will not return to a boil, no matter how long I wait. That's the big--and very frustrating--problem, particularly since the range is new. The burner simply doesn't transfer enough heat to the pot & it just can't boil water without a lid on the pot, won't stay above a simmer.

Steve
You're welcome.
But I'm afraid it will be difficult to get a properly cooked pasta in those conditions...
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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I put a little oil in the water to keep it from boiling over. It floats at the top and prevents foam from rising. You may also try a wider shallower pot.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 4meandthem View Post
I put a little oil in the water to keep it from boiling over. It floats at the top and prevents foam from rising. You may also try a wider shallower pot.


That foam can be impressive.

I put the lid on the pot when I boil potatoes.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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But if the water is boiling properly and the pot is covered, I should, judging by your previous answer (I think) cook the pasta properly, right? I'll just have to keep removing the lid to stir it now and then.

Steve
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by riversurf View Post
But if the water is boiling properly and the pot is covered, I should, judging by your previous answer (I think) cook the pasta properly, right? I'll just have to keep removing the lid to stir it now and then.

Steve
If the water stays at a rolling boil with the lid on, and you give it a really good stir at the beginning when you first put in the pasta, you shouldn't have to keep stirring it. The pasta should dance in the water as it boils. You may want to give it a second stir when the water comes back to that second boil. That should be enough stirring. Every time you remove the lid to stir, you will be losing heat. You don't want to remove it too often.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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So all of this is good news. and I can still use the biggest burner, up front, to do other things and leave the water on the back bench, where it should be.

Thanks
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