It’s a pain to haul out a huge pot to cook a small amount of pasta, but what’s the alternative if your smaller pots can’t accommodate long shapes such as spaghetti and linguine? One simple solution is to break long pastas in half before cooking. Breaking noodles is a no-no in Italian tradition (it’s considered bad luck), but many hounds do it and have lived to tell the tale. Hounds opposed to breaking pasta for traditional or aesthetic reasons point out that if part of the spaghetti isn’t submerged in the boiling water initially, the section that is will soon soften, allowing you to push the remainder into the water in short order. Give it a stir with a pasta fork, and it cooks evenly.

A few hounds circumvent the problem by changing the cooking vessel. mprasek cooks small amounts of spaghetti in a straight-sided sauté pan wide enough to lay the noodles in. “No waiting, no pushing down, not a lot of time for the water to heat,” he says.

“We use this Fasta Pasta cooker ALL the time,” says audreyhtx1 of the microwave implement. “Have never gone back to boiling pasta on the stove top since. This is so much more convenient and way less clean up.” “Not something I’d use every day but for a quick meal for one or two it’s kinda neat,” says todao.

Discuss: Breaking long pasta — ok or no-no?

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