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Spaghetti Steamer - Help please

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have cooked spaghetti in salted water several times, without problems. Recently acquired a 'spaghetti steamer' (tall pot with collander inside and lid to cover contents).

Tried cooking spaghetti by placing the spaghetti inside the collander. Have I taken the title 'spaghetti steamer' too literal. Cooking time was much longer and end result no better than if I just put the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water.

Suspecting that I am doing something wrong, I would welcome words of advice.

Regards.

Novice Paul
post #2 of 8
Um, yeah, you were taking it too literally. :blush:

The idea of that two-part pot (also called a pasta pentola, iirc) is to make it easier to get the pasta out of the water without having to lift the whole pot and dump pasta and water into a colander. You fill the pot just as you would any other big pot for cooking pasta and put in the insert. When the water reaches a rolling boil, put the pasta into the insert. Cook as you normally would. Then when the pasta is done, just lift out the insert and let the water drain back into the pot. You can dump the cooked pasta from the insert into a bowl or into the pan with sauce.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Many Thanks!

Suzanne,

Many thanks for the prompt response and clear advice!

Best wishes.

Paul.
post #4 of 8
One thing to watch for is how deeply the insert reaches. It should come almost to the very bottom of the pot. But some of them are too shallow. I have one, for instance, that clears the pot bottom so high (about 2" in fact) that I have to, literally, fill the pot with water of there isn't enough to cook the pasta.

In short, it's the next best thing to useless.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank You!

KYHeirloomer,

Many thanks for your thoughts!

Regards.

Paul.
post #6 of 8
That's a good point. The "all-purpose" multipart pot I have has an insert that's a good couple of inches shallower than the pot, too. I never use it for pasta, because there's not enough movement for the pasta to not stick together.

However, I do use it for blanching vegetables, since it's easy to lift the whole thing out and dunk it in a BIG pot of ice water. That way the veggies can chill fast but I don't have to pick ice cubes out of them as I would if I dumped them directly into the ice water and then drained the whole mess into a colander.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #7 of 8
Yeah, Suzanne, I use mine for that purpose too. It's about all it's good for. Forget it for pasta!

Wish I'd have known better what to look for when I bought it. Ah, well.

Mine also came with a steamer insert, and I find that very useful. Not as good as a bamboo steamer, of course. But it serves the purpose pretty well.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 8
I find mine pretty useless for pasta as well. Especially since I like to make thin spaghetti and capellini a lot and the wholes are too big for that purpose. I've learned to use it as a steamer for a large quantity of vegetables, or to steam hot dog buns when I make my famous chili slaw dogs!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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