The pasta in the picture isn’t fresh pasta nor is it cooked. It’s basically dry pasta that has been reconstituted. These dry noodles have been soaked in water before cooking. But why would anyone do something like this? well, I personally find it very useful. Here are my top 5 reasons! check ’em out:
- I don’t need boil a lot of water in a big pot which takes, as you know… forever. Once the pasta is hydrated it will be soft and fit smaller pots. Water and time saver right there.
- Another advantage is to have even hydration of the noodles which helps even cooking. Not that critical but still cool.
- Less salt is needed to season the water since you’re using less water. Salt saver. Yes. You can even hydrate/reconstitute pasta in salty water saving even more salt. Brining dry noodles, pretty much.
- The residual pasta water after cooking the noodles will have a higher starch concentration. Which makes it a better thickener for your pasta sauces.
- And probably my favorite one. It cuts the cooking time considerably.
So here is how:
Allow the noodles to soak in water while you prep the rest of the stuff for your wonderful dinner, or if you’re feeling proactive, then do it overnight. Depending on the brand, the minimum hydration time is I’d say about 30 mins.
It doesn’t matter how long you have them in water, once the noodles are fully hydrated, they won’t take any more water. Certain brands of dry pasta hydrate better than others so experiment a bit with the ones you usually buy to see if this technique is useful to you.
I haven’t experimented with whole wheat or gluten free pasta, so I’m not sure the hydrating approach is suitable. Some dry pasta brands welcome this technique better than other so experiment a bit with the brands you usually buy and have fun. Don’t forget to let me know how your testing went. And if you know of other cool pasta tricks, please, leave them in the comment section! Cheers!