University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Helping you prepare healthy foods in a hurry

Alice Henneman, MS, Registered Dietitian and Extension Educator
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County


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Quick Tip - September 2003

Ease the Strain of Draining Pasta

pasta pot and strainerPerhaps you're put off from preparing pasta by having to drain hot water from a large pot of pasta into a colander at your sink.

Try using a "pasta insert" to simplify pasta-making. These devices, also referred to as a "pasta colander insert" or "pasta strainer," let you lift the insert, leaving the water in the pot.

Here are some tips for choosing and using a pasta insert:

  • Purchase them as part of a set when you purchase a "multi-cooker" or a stock pot. Or purchase a separate pasta insert to fit inside a pot you already own.

  • Look for a long pasta insert that goes to the bottom of your pot.

  • Check that any insert you buy independently is compatible with your existing pot and lid.

  • Place either your serving dish or something you can set the pasta insert on near the stove.

  • Lift the insert slowly when the pasta is cooked, allowing time for the water to drain a bit before transferring the pasta to your serving dish.

  • Speed the cooking process on an electric stove by turning on an electric burner before you even get out your pot and fill it with water.

  • Note about how much time it takes your water to heat. Then plan what else you can do in the future while the water is coming to a boil. For example, start your water heating when you get home from work before you change your clothes or read your mail. If it starts to boil before you are ready to add the pasta, you can always turn the heat down.

  • Check the Web site of the National Pasta Association for tips and recipes for cooking pasta:

  • Expand the use of your pasta pot and insert by using them to cook potatoes and ears of corn and for blanching vegetables.


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Developed By:

Alice C. Henneman, MS, RD
Extension Educator
University of Nebraska
Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

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