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Save Energy: Soak Your Noodles

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2011

If you’re planning to parboil pasta for a baked dish like ziti or lasagna, but the burners on your stove are in high demand, here’s an energy-saving way to get the noodles to the proper texture.

If you’re planning to parboil pasta for a baked dish like ziti or lasagna, but the burners on your stove are in high demand, here’s an energy-saving way to get the noodles to the proper texture: Soak ’em. We experimented with different types of pasta, including ziti, rigatoni, and elbow noodles, and found that soaking them in cold water (4 quarts per pound of pasta, along with 1 teaspoon of salt for proper seasoning) for 90 minutes hydrated their starches just enough: When baked the rest of the way in sauce, the pasta had the desired texture. When we asked tasters to compare ziti baked with soaked noodles with ziti baked with parboiled noodles, they couldn’t tell them apart.