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Nov 30, 2006 12:08 AM


I usually make a lb. but sometimes up to 2 lbs. What do you suggest is a good size pot?? I currently use a 6 qt. for the lb but I feel like I need more? Should I use two different sizes if I'm boiling one versus two lbs.?

Thx in advance!

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  1. I go with one gallon of water for each pound of pasta and have never had any issues.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cpanagakis

      I agree. I use a 6QT pot for 1lb, and I use an 8QT pot if I make 2 lbs.

    2. If you have a roomy Dutch oven or rondeau, 7 quarts or larger, it should be fine for 2 pounds of pasta.

      Many "pasta cooker" pots are shaped tall and narrow like a stockpot, but I much prefer a rondeau shape, like All Clad's "stockpot" when cooking long pasta shapes like spaghetti. It's so much easier when the diameter of the pan is wide enough to accomodate the spaghetti without having to bend it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: btnfood

        Couldn't agree more. I grew up in an Italian household (I'm not Italian myself, but I might as well be). I learned to cook by watching the "mother" (the matriarch of that family). She was a marvelous Italian cook, and she routinely used a heavily-clad aluminum pot (we didn't know about leaching back then), oval-shaped, almost oblong. It could do a full 3 lbs. of linguine, tagliatelle, etc. without a push, and her pasta was always the best. A drop of oil in the water will strengthen the pasta's resiliency and keep it from sticking together. I don't like the strainer/steamer basket that fits inside the pot. It's more tricky, but I prefer the pasta to swim freely and take my chances with the "pour" at the end. Yeah, I've occasionally overshot the collander in the past, but after so many years, I've gotten pretty good at it, and seldom drop even a strand into the sink anymore. Use quality pasta, or better yet, make your own, and don't rinse off the starchy residue. Al dente, of course!

        1. re: RickTheClamBellyFan

          Oops...forgot to mention that there's a world of difference between fresh and dried pasta. Fresh doesn't need nearly the same amount of water, and it won't cook very long either of course. Al dente for fresh and al dente for dried are two different animals. In any case, if you're talking about dried pasta, I wouldn't do 2 lbs in a pot that held less than 7 or 8 quarts of water if you want evenly cooked noodles that don't stick together. If you use enough water, don't even bother to use oil in the water, as it's just a waste of perfectly good oil. If you do want to add the oil, I wouldn't bother to use EVOO, which is more expensive. Use a canola or something. But if you're relying on the oil to keep the noodle from sticking together, better to use a larger pot and more water...the oil will then be superfluous.

          1. re: RickTheClamBellyFan

            You will find many do not like the oil in the water theory because it may lessen the ability of the sauce to stick to the pasta.

            1. re: jfood

              And it does nothing to keep the pasta from sticking together. A kitchen myth busted.

              What it does do is make the pasta water left oily, which is not good for using the pasta water to reduce with the sauce and the pasta in the pan

              1. re: Karl S

                Absolutely agree with this. I scoop a little bowl of pasta water out of thepot before I drain, add to the sauce and reduce. The additionof the pasta water to the sauce and reduce add tremendously to the stick ration of the sauce to thepasta.

        2. This is tough because you'd like to use about 4 qts of water for each pound, it needs room to swim around once it starts boiling, pasta that doesn't move around will cook unevenly, stick together, etc . . . for this reason, 2 pounds is a lot of pasta to cook in one pot, assuming you're in a regular home-scale kitchen . . . you'd really want a pot that holds about 12 qts of water and a serious burner below. I don't often make 2lbs, but when I do I use two 6-qt pots.

          1. Pasta loves to swim . 12 qt stock pot with strainer. All Clad

            1. I have always used 1 gallon per pound of pasta, and 6 quarts per lb is even better. You do not need to spend a lot of money for a stock pot/pasta pot. Water is a very efficient conductor of heat and the pot only has to be dimensionally stable.

              I love my All-Clad pots and pans, but my stock pots are commercial stainless from a restaurant supply house. I paid less than $50 for a 16 qt. stock pot 10 years ago and it looks like new. The use of a pasta insert is usually unnecessary for any pot under 12 qts.