How to Save Time and Money Cooking Pasta

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Do you love pasta but don’t love how long it takes to heat up the water and boil it all? I have a great time and money-saving tip for you–get ready to enjoy more pasta for less!

One of my favorite kitchen memories as a child was my mother’s spaghetti and meatballs.

My mother worked full-time following my parents’ unfortunate divorce, and so convenience foods and fast food were not entirely unknown around our dinner table.

However, there were some classic home-cooked meals that my mom turned out for us — one of them being her spaghetti and meatballs, complete with her amazing homemade pasta sauce.

She would let the sauce simmer all day and then would let us kids test it.  We would get a slice of bread (sadly, it was white and store-bought) with a ladle-full of homemade sauce on it.  Mmmm–mmmmm.

Now, I still love pasta, but one thing that I have never liked is the amount of time it takes to wait for that huge pot of water to boil. You know the old adage–a watched pot never boils.

In this case, whether you are watching it or not, it always seems that heating up the pot of water takes forever.

So when I found this time and money-saving tip for cooking pasta I was thrilled.

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Time and Money Saving Pasta Tip Origin

In a number of other posts, I have mentioned Lorna Sass.  Well, this tip also comes from her now an out-of-print cookbook, Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen.

So here’s how to save time and money cooking pasta.

Turns out that that huge pot of water is totally unnecessary!

You can seriously have pasta on the table lickety-split, and save money by not using as much water and also since you won’t need as much fuel to heat up the post.


How to Save Time and Money Cooking Pasta

Makes 4 servings

1.  Take a small pot (about 1 1/2 quart-sized)

2.  Add enough water so that when it boils it will not overflow.

3.  Boil the water.

4.  Add 1 pound of pasta.

5.  Stir occasionally to make sure that all of the pasta is submerged.

6.  Drain and serve as usual.

(Of course, for more servings, just increase the pot size and the pasta accordingly :-).)



You have just saved:

  • Time – you didn’t have to wait as long for the water to boil
  • Money – save on energy and water usage

(And this tip just in from a reader:  To save more energy, but not time, just turn off the heat once you add the pasta and keep a lid on it.  Add about 5 minutes to your regular cooking time and check for doneness.  Sounds great for a day when you are not in as much of a hurry!)

Hungry for more time and money-saving kitchen tips?

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Do you have a great time or money-saving tip to share?

Or how about a kitchen challenge?  I’m currently working on a few suggested by readers this past month :-).

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  1. I only have two pots a huge and a small, so in my experience cramming all the pasta in the small box creates spills when it boils (I will try the cover the pot tip). Here’s a tip from Jamie Oliver, he boils his water first in the electric teapot (takes 2-3 min) and then puts it in the pot, quickly reheats it and adds the pasta. Time saver!

  2. Alternatively, cook your sauce in a bigger pan with a little bit more stock than usual and then when it’s almost ready add the pasta. The starch in the pasta will thicken the sauce.

  3. I think my note wasn’t clear… add the pasta to the cold water (instead of boiling) and bring to a boil like that. 🙂