My husband loves pasta salad, but part of me really dislikes making pasta. I am not the most patient cook, and waiting for water to boil just feels like it takes forever. I think it actually does take forever, for the record. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with skipping that step, and it’s worked out really well! In case there are other impatient cooks out there who want to try making pasta without boiling the water before adding it to the pan, I wanted to share this trick!
You’re still going to boil the water when you make your pasta this way, but instead of waiting for bubbles, just dump the pasta right in the pot with enough room-temperature water to cover, then turn on the stove. Really, the only thing that changes is the cooking time.
The idea here is that the pasta is still soaking up water while the water heats up, so it’s technically cooking from the minute you put it in the pot with water. Your total cooking time will be shorter, but the time that the pasta is in the pot will be longer than what’s printed on the box.
The new cooking time for your pasta depends on the pasta’s cooking time, how fast your stove heats up, how much pasta you’re making…there are a lot of variables. There’s no complicated equation to figure out how much time to add, though. Here’s how I make my cheater’s pasta.
Cheater’s Pasta Instructions
1. Dump the pasta in the pot with however much water the box says to use.
2. Turn your stove on high, and set your timer for however long the box says the pasta needs to cook. Stir every few minutes, to keep things from sticking.
3. When the timer goes off, your pasta will not be ready to serve. Instead, you’re now going to keep cooking, tasting the pasta every 1-2 minutes until you achieve that perfect chewy-yet-not-mushy texture that makes pasta great.
It usually takes an extra 3-7 minutes to make your pasta this way. Something that cooks up fast, like soba noodles, doesn’t seem to need as much extra cooking as a heartier pasta like ziti. Just keep timing and tasting until it’s the texture you want, then drain and go on with your recipe.
That’s really it! You might wonder if this actually saves time, since it could take as long as 7 extra minutes over the cooking time on the box. Just remember that water takes forever to boil, so you’re cutting all of that boiling time off of the total cooking time. You’re pasta is ready faster, and you’re saving a little energy by cutting back on your stove time, too!
A delicious win-win. If you’re wondering about the pasta in the photo above, it’s topped with summer squash and green beans sauteed up with lots of garlic and herbes de Provence.
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!