- Expensive energy bills have prompted Italians to cook pasta with the stove off.
- Some chefs reportedly said that pasta “cooks really badly” and becomes sticky when the heat is turned off.
- Europe is currently facing an energy crisis as Russia cuts supplies to the continent.
Some Italians cook their beloved pasta with the stove off to limit gas use, hoping to cut expensive energy bills.
Normally, the heat is maintained at a consistently high temperature when the pasta and water in the pan are on the stove.
Giorgio Parisi, an Italian Nobel Prize winner in Physics, recently wrote in a Facebook post that pasta can be cooked over low heat once the water in the pan has reached boiling point. The trick is to keep the lid on the pan at all times, Parisi said. This method uses less gas but still cooks the pasta, he added.
Parisi again shared a post from Alessandro Busiri Vici, described by the Financial Times as a well-known architect, who said the stove could be turned off completely after the water had boiled. The noodles will cook in the covered pan and should rest an extra minute until done. Busiri Vici said this approach could save at least eight minutes of gas.
Unione Italiane Food, a food association, also proposed “passive cooking”, i.e. turning off the heat during cooking, to save up to 47% in energy and carbon emissions. Putting a lid on the pot and using the right amount of water when boiling liquids also makes a difference, the association said.
However, some Italian chefs were not satisfied with the advice.
Wasfi Mesieha, a chef at an Italian restaurant in Rome, told Euronews that when the flame is turned off the pasta will continue to cook, but “it will cook really badly”.
Chef Vincenzo Feola told Deutsche Welle that if the pasta is cooked without a stove, it doesn’t have the right consistency, becomes sticky and tastes overcooked.
Higher energy costs come at a time when Europe is grappling with an energy crisis after Russia cut supplies to the continent in response to Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine war.
European governments and some companies have since taken various measures to reduce electricity consumption ahead of winter.
Brits have ditched their $29,000 vintage ovens to combat soaring energy costs, Bloomberg reported, while German bakeries have turned off lights in protest at sky-high bills.