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Old 12-12-2011, 05:57 PM   #11
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I use a flat half moon metal thing with holes in it to strain pasta. It has ridges and fits a variety of pot sizes.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:20 PM   #12
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I've never bought a specialized thingie (pot or insert) for pasta. I just use a hand sieve when it is just the two of us, and a colander when I'm cooking for more. I agree with those who've said the "gummy sticky mess' comes from not having enough water when you boil it, not having it hot enough (high rolling boil) or not eating it soon enough after draining. My problem with these inserts has been that the water doesn't seem to come to the high boil (maybe my fault, in someone else's kitchen). Since there are only two of us, having a specialty thing for it would be a lot of space in my kitchen for something I'd only use occaisionally (and not because I don't make pasta many times a week, I do, and I do angel hair for myself for lunch several times a week, especially when tomatoes are in the garden!). It is just more space and wash-up than I need. The hand sieve is a fine mesh so the angel hair stays there. I then toss it back into the pan, put it back on the burner (which is turned off, but still hot) and add my ingredients and eat on the spot.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
My pasta is never "a starchy, gummy mess".

I have a box of spaghetti in front of me and it calls for 5 quarts of water to cook a full box (16 Oz. of pasta). So cooking less than 7 ounces of pasta properly in 3-3.5 quarts of water clearly should not be an issue. At least it isn't for me.
Me either. My 3 quart pot works just fine because I don't have all that much pasta in it. I make enough so that I have enough to make a small casserole.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by GLC View Post
Larger pot than you would think, so that the water stays at temperature when the pasta hits it. And consider a handled wire strainer. You'll be surprised how well it works and you drop the cooked pasta right on the plate or wherever.

That handled wire strainer looks like a good idea. I'm going to look around for one.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Zhizara

Me either. My 3 quart pot works just fine because I don't have all that much pasta in it. I make enough so that I have enough to make a small casserole.
I use my 3 quart pot, and my pasta is just fine too. Just the right amount for 2, with some leftovers.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:08 PM   #16
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Yes, there are metal mesh baskets available. I used them all the time but I do not remember where I got them from. Possibly William Sonoma?
You were right!

This is EXACTLY what I had envisioned!

All-Clad Stainless Steel Multipot with Mesh Inserts, 12-Qt. | Williams-Sonoma

One minor issue, though ......
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
My pasta is never "a starchy, gummy mess".

I have a box of spaghetti in front of me and it calls for 5 quarts of water to cook a full box (16 Oz. of pasta). So cooking less than 7 ounces of pasta properly in 3-3.5 quarts of water clearly should not be an issue. At least it isn't for me.
Didn't we have a discussion about this a while back? Seems to me I remember something about ATK testing this and concluding that less water was better. With less water there is more starch (relatively speaking) in the water and more starch stays on the pasta, making sauces stick to the pasta better.

I remember someone mentioning that professional pasta chefs use the same water over and over and get a cloudy, starchy water that is something one wants.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jennyema View Post


I have not had a problem with spaghetti falling out of an insert like this.
I had one of these in granite ware (I didn't have that smaller round thingee with holes).

It came as part of a canning set. It was great for steaming asparagus. It was great for steaming vegis, especially using the colander instead of the cylindrical insert with holes.

It was a pain in the patooty for cooking pasta. You have to bring the whole thing to the sink. If you try to lift out the insert, water fountains out of the holes. If the pot is on your stove, well that makes a lot of pasta water on the stove. Yes, you can lift it very, very slowly and then that doesn't happen, but I find it easier just to boil pasta in a regular pot and pour it all into a colander that is sitting in the sink.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:56 PM   #19
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So, I cook for one.

I love spaghetti and angel hair pasta.

I currently have a large stock pot I cook it in. It has a locking lid with drain holes in it, but the holes are too large, and some of the pasta always falls out, or gets stuck in the holes.

The stock pot also has a non-stick coating that is coming off. It's a drag having to check my spaghetti every time for pieces of it, I miss them sometimes, and I worry about cooking in that pot, so I've decided to replace it.

I searched it, and saw you shouldn't use non-stick coating under high heat, so I think the first the first criteria for a replacement is that it be made of stainless steel.

I also really like the pasta pots with the colander inserts that you just lift out of the pot. Every one I've seen, though, has the large holes. Can anyone direct me to one with holes fine enough to prevent spaghetti from slipping out?

If not, is there a better way?
Where did you get the pot with the locking lid? Is it stainless? I am looking for a stainless pot with a locking strainer lid that is sturdy.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:36 AM   #20
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You can get a Chef's Basket at Bed Bath Beyond too. I bought one there and my daughter happily took it to a friend forever.
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