Here's Why We Might Have Been Cooking Our Pasta All Wrong

This energy-saving cooking technique is causing quite the stir.
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It seems that everything we know about cooking pasta has been a lie.

Anyone who loves the Italian carby goodness will know the golden rule of making a delicious bowl of pasta is boiling it in properly salted water.

Now, Barilla, one of Italy’s biggest pasta brands, has said there’s another way to make it – and their comments are causing quite the stir.

The company has told customers they can boil pasta for two minutes, switch off the heat, put the lid back on, and let it cook “passively” in the water.

‘Passive cooking’ is a different way of cooking pasta which limits CO2 emissions by up to 80%, when compared to traditional pasta cooking methods. The technique is credited to Giorgio Parisi, a Nobel prizewinning physicist no less, and Barilla are promoting it as a way to save energy, too.

“Passive cooking is a technique that has been around since the mid-19th-century. Around 16 million tonnes of pasta are produced worldwide. This means that around 400 million portions of pasta are served every day. If passive cooking was adopted by a large number of people, it would make a real impact on the planet,” it says in the marketing material.

But, not everyone thinks the process will work.

Francesco Mazzei, the Italian chef-patron at Sartoria in Mayfair, London told the Telegraph the technique is “completely wrong.”

“If you want to save energy just cook something else,” he says. “A lot of things can be cooked in three or four minutes. Why would you jeopardise one of the most amazing foods in the world? I wouldn’t cook a Yorkshire pudding in a steam oven.”

“There are rules for cooking pasta and they need to be followed. My mamma taught me; I’ll tell my kids and they’ll pass it on,” Mazzei adds.

However, chef Gennaro Contaldo, a pioneer of Italian cooking in Britain and author of Gennaro’s Limoni, has tried the method and says it works.

“My only point would be to reduce the waiting time by a couple of minutes so it is perfectly ‘al dente’. If it means saving CO2 emissions, then I’m all for it!,” he adds.`

So, would you try making pasta this way?