Tuesday’s Tip: Pasta Superfast

January 10,2012
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Whenever friends of ours compliment my cooking and say something like, “SPH is lucky to have a wife that loves to cook!”  I almost always reply:

“He is a much better chef than I!”

‘Tis true.  My wonderful husband grew up working in restaurants and training to be a chef while going to high school and college.  He picked up so many great restaurant tips, and today I share one of my favorites with you.

In restaurants they often cook up pasta until it is about 75% done cooking.  At the 75% point, they remove the pasta from the hot water and “hold” it until someone in the restaurant orders the pasta for their meal.  At this point, the restaurant chef returns the pasta to the boiling water for 2-3 minutes or however long remains, to finish the pasta so it is fresh when it is plated for the diner.

Why not use this trick at home?  I often under-cook more pasta than we need for a meal:

Then after I strain it and I package it in family-friendly sized containers for future use.  

I can’t tell you how helpful this can be to our family, especially on nights when we eat in shifts, since pasta that has been fully cooked and is just sitting out isn’t as appealing as freshly boiled pasta.

Also, you can take this tip a step further and freeze the under-cooked pasta!  Freeze the pasta in containers or plastic storage bags.  When you are ready to use the pasta, simple place in the boiling water, being sure to add a minute for it to “thaw” in the water.

Lastly, if you have extra under-cooked pasta on hand, it is great for baked pasta dishes, all ready for you to use!

Life is sweet,