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Author Topic: Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?  (Read 4795 times)

Offline Karsten

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My girlfriend insists(!) that the water has to be boiling quite hard for pasta to be right.  Especially tortellini. Lid has to be open too. Why? Is the temperature so much lower when you reduce the heat and cover the pot? Why would the "violent" boiling make a difference? She also insists on salt in the water. Not sure why, but she says it can't go right without it.


 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #1 on: 09/11/2009 02:42:14 »
I find simmering it makes it tastes much more rubbery, whereas boiling the water means it is more likely to retain it's al dente feel though that might be because you're more likely to taste test more often when you don't have a cover on it or it may be that you leave it for longer while you do other things. The salt sounds like more of a subjective thing - pasta cooked until al dente is much better than under or overcooked.
 

Offline neilep

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #2 on: 09/11/2009 14:23:01 »
Boil or simmer...al dente is achieved (in MY experience) by the time taken to cook it to al dente status. How long that takes is down to experimentation. A quick way to stop the process of 'cooking' when it has reached that state is to add some cold water just to take it quickly down a degree of three !
 

Offline Don_1

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #3 on: 09/11/2009 15:59:07 »
You forgot #3, who goes to a restaurant so someone else cooks it.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #4 on: 09/11/2009 16:34:02 »
What's "al dente" ?
 

Offline JimBob

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #5 on: 09/11/2009 17:39:33 »
What's "al dente" ?

Barbarian!

It means "to the tooth" or some such. What it BOILS down to is that the pasta is not too hard and crunchy nor it is so soft that it is mushy. it has some resistance and texture when chewed.

Haute Cuisine class is now over.

 

Offline neilep

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #6 on: 09/11/2009 17:48:21 »
What's "al dente" ?

Barbarian!

It means "to the tooth" or some such. What it BOILS down to is that the pasta is not too hard and crunchy nor it is so soft that it is mushy. it has some resistance and texture when chewed.

Haute Cuisine class is now over.



He is Orzstraylien !
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #7 on: 09/11/2009 18:23:25 »
Haha, I see. I just call it "ready" :p
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #8 on: 09/11/2009 18:57:53 »
Last time I checked the boiling point of water was given as 100C. It didn't say  "simmering" or a "rolling boil" because the temperature is the same in both cases.
On the other hand a lot of things work better and more consistently if they are well stirred and a rolling boil will do that better than simmering.
Incidentally I don't add salt to the water but I know that lots of people add salt to all sorts of things. I think it's more a matter of taste than physics.

Oh, and since I'm a few hundred feet above sea level the water probably doesn't usually boil at 100C- but I don't care, I boil the stuff till it's done.
 

Offline Geezer

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #9 on: 09/11/2009 19:48:59 »
Haute Cuisine class is now over.

Haute Cuisine! That's a good one coming from some flatlander in Texas.

Down there they don't even cook their steak. They simply saw off the horns and clean up the ass.

BTW - I always add a splash of aulive oirl to the water when I'm boiling pasta. As our kitchen is more than 2,000 feet up, my cooking is always Haut Cuisine.
« Last Edit: 09/11/2009 20:01:20 by Geezer »
 

Offline Geezer

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #10 on: 09/11/2009 20:12:27 »
I suspect the rolling boil is important because it ensures that the entire surface of the pasta is exposed to the same temperature fluid. Note that it's not just temperature that matters. The pasta also has to absorb a certain amount of water. It also seems to be important to use a very large amount of water in relation to the amount of pasta. These things do seem to make a difference in terms of uniformity/consistency.
 

Offline JimBob

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #11 on: 09/11/2009 20:52:41 »
Haute Cuisine class is now over.

Haute Cuisine! That's a good one coming from some flatlander in Texas.

Down there they don't even cook their steak. They simply saw off the horns and clean up the ass.

BTW - I always add a splash of aulive oirl to the water when I'm boiling pasta. As our kitchen is more than 2,000 feet up, my cooking is always Haut Cuisine.

Man, has this guy a lot to learn - as insults go, this is just WEAK! He must not be getting enough haggis to cause sever indigestion and make him mean!

 

Offline Geezer

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #12 on: 09/11/2009 21:00:23 »
"sever indigestion"

WTBleep is that? Something you get after eating a bum steer?
 

Offline JimBob

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #13 on: 09/11/2009 21:13:04 »
For the illiterates among us:

sev-er (sev'uhr)  v. <-ered, -er-ing>
              v.t.
                  1.  to separate (a part) from the whole, as
                       by cutting.
                  2.  to divide into parts, esp. forcibly;
                       cleave.
                  3.  to break off or dissolve (ties,
                       relations, etc.).
              v.i.
                  4.  to become separated or divided.
             [1300-50; ME < MF sev (e) rer to SEPARATE]

in-di-ges-tion (in di jes'chuhn, -die-)  n.
                  1.  a feeling of discomfort after eating, as
                       of heartburn, nausea, or bloating;
                       dyspepsia.
                  2.  inadequate or abnormal digestion.
             [1400-50; late ME < LL]

THEREFORE - this is indigestion that causes a person to become "besides themselves" with rage.

(It could also be "severe indigestion." But that would mean admitting that I again misspelled a word so that option is off the table.)
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #14 on: 10/11/2009 19:21:06 »
BTW, if someone else is cooking for you, it's generally a good idea to let them do it how they like unless you want to end up cooking for yourself.
 

Offline Geezer

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
« Reply #15 on: 10/11/2009 19:23:46 »
Only if you are lucky enough to avoid wearing it.
 

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Why does she insist to boil pasta rather than just simmer it?
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