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Jun 16, 2011 12:22 PM

Taking Nominations for a new pasta pot

I currently use a stainless pasta pot from Williams Sonoma that my Mom gave me. 95% of it's use if for boiling water for pasta, but I also use it for making stock, apple butter, rice krispies, jams, etc. So I need one pretty big. This thing is just SO SLOW to come to a boil. I'm not sure I can afford a giant copper pot. (although I'd be interested in hearing recommendations) Maybe All Clad copper core? I looked at WS but none of the AC in stock appeared large/deep enough.


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  1. I don't think copper will really provide so much benefit for a large pot like that - when you're boiling water, making stock, etc., being able to change temperature quickly or have precise control of heat is not so important. I would suggest a tall, narrow stock pot with a heavy aluminum disk bottom. The All Clad Multicooker is not a bad deal when it's on sale ($100) -- note - this is not a fully clad pot; it has a disk base much like the (cheaper) options mentioned below.

    Something along the lines of this one might do the trick:

    For smaller amounts of pasta (1 lb or less) I can usually get by with a 4.5 qt saucepan (Sitram) without feeling like I'm crowding the pan too much.

    1. How many quarts do you need? I'm using the Cuisinart 12 quart multipot.

      6 Replies
      1. re: rasputina

        I use the Cuisinart 12 qt., sans the inserts, as well. It's a great pot and serves me very well.

        1. re: Molly James

          Somewhere has an 8 qt Cuisinart on sale for like $30 right now.

          1. re: will47

            minw ia only 8 quarts, i could go a little bigger, but this one serves.

            But...what makes me think a Cuisinart pot would be any faster at boiling than the stainless pot I have now? I'm not saying it won't, I just don't know what to look for. Copper is the only thinkg I know of that heats faster.

            1. re: danna

              I don't think a different pot is going to make a significant difference in how fast your water boils, and definitely not to the degree where it would be worth paying for a copper stockpot. Copper will react more quickly to changes in heat, and the pot itself might heat marginally faster, and might even be a bit more efficient, but I don't think this would make a significant difference in terms of your boiling time. I don't know what kind of stove you have, but a more powerful stove (or a stand-alone induction plate) might speed things up.

              I usually just heat the water for pasta first thing, before I start prepping, then turn it off once it comes to a boil.

              The large (4 or 5 qt, I think?) saucepan I have does have a copper disk base (it's Sitram Catering). You could consider this series if you're really intent on copper (these prices don't include lids, and I'm guessing the second and third options would be a bit difficult to handle when full of water, since they don't have helper handles).


              1. re: danna

                danna, I have pure aluminum pots (vintage Wagner and Meljax) that are quite thick and respond to heat much faster than any of my stainless steel. Perhaps an aluminum or SS lined hard anodized aluminum might be of interest to you.

                will47 also makes a great point about the type of stove you have and the BTU's of your burners.

              2. re: will47

                I picked up my 12 qt at Marshall's a few years back for less than $25 and it wasn't even on clearance. Might be worth it for the OP to take a look at Marshall's/TJ Maxx/Homegoods if interested. They typically always have a nice selection of Cuisinart Chef Classics line.

                As a footnote, I've noticed that a lot of the newer stock to the above mentioned stores from this line, have a much thinner base than the 2 older pieces I have. Just an observation I thought to mention.

          2. For most pasta, I use a cheap ($15 for stockpot, steamer, pentola) 8-qt SS stockpot because it's also extremely light.

            If I'm making ravioli or other stuffed pasta, I use a wide 8-qt A-C stockpot (Dutch oven profile), and take them out with a Chinese strainer/spider.

            1. Can't help with the pot, but I think these inserts are the coolest:

              Perfect for the family with the mother who likes whole wheat pasta, the son with an aversion to gluten, the daughter who doesn't like macaroni shapes....

              2 Replies
              1. re: E_M

                What a great idea. I can also see where it would also come in handy for separating different kinds of ravioli or tortellini.

                I wonder how well it works.

                1. re: E_M

                  Funny you should mention that. The pot I have came with one of those inserts. If I use it, the water will practically NEVER boil. Somehow the heating of the extra metal requires just that much more energy.

                  I know you guys are well-meaning, but the "do something about the heat source" is rubbing salt in my wounds. Any of you that feel like running a gas line to my house let me know.

                  I have a copper polenta pot. The sides are too sloped to be good for pasta and yes, it is a little smaller, but it boils the same quantity of water WAY faster on my electric glass top stove.

                2. See if you can do anything about the heat source.

                  I experimented with two pots. A cheapo thin stainless steel pot and good sitram stock pot with a decent aluminum base. Controlled for temperature of the starting water, and the beginning heat of the burner. With equal volumes of water, both came to a boil at exactly the same time.

                  Yeah, I'm a geeky engineer. The pot makes zero difference for boiling water, it's all the heat source.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tomishungry

                    We now have a 23k BTU stove, and even bringing a large 10-12 qt stockpot full of water is surprisingly quick. Though, much as I like gas, induction and even electric are probably a little more efficient than gas for boiling water.

                    1. re: tomishungry

                      You said it before I could reply. If you want to bring mass quantities of water to a boil you need more BTUs because different metals are irrelevant,