Can I cook pasta in a rice cooker?
I don't have the option of cooking pasta in a boiling pot on a burner of any sort. No open flames and even electric hot plates aren't an option.
Things that boil water, though, are okay. I have a water kettle that doesn't have an automatic shut off, but it is a pain to clean because the kettle doesn't detach from the electrical bottom. I can't put it in the sink.
I've been planning to buy one of those counter top rice cookers anyways, but I was hoping it was possible to make pasta in them as well. Do they actually reach a boil or are they just really hot? I realize I might not get fantastic pasta out of them, and I am okay with that.
If rice cookers won't work, does someone out there make a quality water kettle with no automatic shut off that detaches from the base?
Microwaves aren't an option. I have attempted pasta in the microwave before and am never impressed.
Technically, your water kettle is an electric hot plate with an attached kettle. I don't understand why you're restricted from using a hot plate but you know your environment better than anyone so I guess there must get some reason; reasonable or not.
Rice cookers do heat water to the boiling point so, in theory, you could use a rice cooker to prepare pasta in very small quantity but because pasta should be cooked in copious amounts of water you wouldn't get the quality finished product that you might otherwise expect. It'd probably be pretty close to what you've been getting in the microwave where, I assume, you use small amounts of water to prevent over-boiling.
When I was in college, I ate many mac n' cheese dinners made in a "hot pot", a lot like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Rival-4071-WN-3...
That said, I've heard that rice cookers can be very versatile. I have a small, cheap one that does boil the water, but I've never made anthing other than rice in it.
It would probably work. Take a look at Harold McGee's take on how much water is needed for cooking pasta: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/din...
You should probably stick to small shapes, since I assume that you would have to open the rice cooker several times to stir the pasta, and that you would want to limit the heat loss.