Divided opinionsThe Nobel Prize winner recommends cooking pasta passively to save energy
Use less energy when preparing pasta? This is possible – with passive cooking. The ancient method is currently on everyone’s lips and dividing Italian minds.
- Anabelle Riebeling honorarium
Russian offensive war in Ukraine has made electricity and gas scarcer and more expensive. This means that saving energy is very important. In addition to classic savings tips also issue rounds of referrals that seem somewhat unusual. A particularly striking addition to the kitchen comes from, of all places, Italy, a country that doesn’t play around with culinary experiments. Just think of the Hawaii pizza discussions.
And so it gives reason to talk about the currently much-discussed “passive cooking”. “cottura passiva”, as it is called in Italian, was introduced as a simple method of saving energy by the Roman Nobel laureate Giorgio Parisi.
An ancient method actually
In his Facebook post, the physicist recommends first boiling the water for the pasta as usual – “under a lid, otherwise a lot of heat is lost through evaporation”. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cover again. After two minutes, he set the temperature to the lowest setting. But you can also completely cut off the power supply. “Obviously it uses less gas and I think the pasta cooks just as well.” Because the water temperature drops when the stove is turned off, the pasta now takes a minute or two longer.
Parisi’s proposal is based on pasta maker Barilla based on an idea known “since the middle of the 19th century”. This method not only saves energy compared to classic preparation, but also up to 80 percent of CO2 emissions. The boiling phase until reaching the boiling point of water is not included in this calculation. It refers to a cooking time of ten minutes on a gas or electric stove, you will find out at the end of the website.
According to a study sponsored by pasta producers Unione Italiana Food, passive cooking of pasta saves up to 47 percent of energy and CO2 emissions.
Professionals in Italian cuisine are divided
Parisi’s tip is not only well received: While Milan’s star chef Davide Oldani says he’s been cooking pasta passively for years – “my mother taught me that,” Roman restaurateur Antonello Colonna “absolutely rejects” energy-saving cooking, as Corriere.it News (Paid items). This would make the pasta “rubbery”. It’s an “attack on taste”. Honored with a Nobel Prize, he says, but Parisi has no idea about cooking.
Chemist Dario Bressanini cannot understand this. Opposite On Thetimes.co.uk (Paid Items) he explained why: It works because the pasta is not cooked by boiling, but by the heat of the water. “The most important processes in cooking pasta – such as the absorption of water by the starch and the coagulation of the gluten – all take place at 80 degrees and therefore are not dependent on boiling water.” If you cover the pot after a power outage, the water temperature can still be over 85 degrees after 15 minutes. “Pasta does not stick if it is of good quality and has a gluten content of 13 percent,” he argues.