Using a Pasta Insert as a Steamer Basket
I have a pot that came with a steamer basket and a pasta insert. But sometimes, I find that the basket is too small for things like dungeness crabs, lobsters, etc. Has anyone ever used their pasta insert as the steamer basket?
The only issue I see is that since the pasta insert is so deep, there isn't much room left to add water.
Hi, Philly Ray:
Not really much of an issue--you may just need to boost your insert and/or crustaceans up outta the water a bit--a pie plate or a few stones work well.
For me the bigger issue is lidding the pot if the whole insert is boosted up...
<The only issue I see is that since the pasta insert
is so deep, there isn't much room left to add water.>
Could you not place something like an overturned cereal bowl in the bottom of the pot? This would lift the basket higher and allow you to add more water.
I use it as a steamer when I have a bulky pile of stuff to steam, like a lot of broccoli. I have probably 3/4" clearance at the bottom (old WS 10 gal. Multipot), and that is plenty of water for steaming. I have used other pots of similar size and put a cake rack in the bottom.
Basically, you need a quasi-sealed system of a sort to hold the steam and maintain the temp, so anything that raises the insert is no good, because it will allow steam to escape up the outside of the insert and out of the system. You could put something in the bottom of the insert to raise the insert's contents, thereby allowing you to add more water. I would stick with something non-barrier like--i.e. not a bowl or a plate, but maybe a handful of clean golf ball sized rocks. But, all this fixes what may not be a problem. How much space is there between the bottom of the insert and the bottom of the pot? If you have 3/4" like Tim, try this. Place a 1/2" or 5/8" of water in the pot, put in the insert and lid the system. Bring it to a boil and time how long it takes for the water to boil almost dry. I'm guessing you'll have more steaming time than you'd expect.
<Basically, you need a quasi-sealed system of a sort to hold the steam and maintain the temp, so anything that raises the insert is no good,>
I agree to that. It can semi-work, but it won't work too well. The severity depends how high it is raised. The more, the worse. There are several ways around this. One can semi-seal the opening with aluminum foil. Or one can simply turn up the heat and create more steam to make up the loss of steam.
I have the same "problem". Mine is an 8 quart Calphalon pasta pot with pasta insert and steamer basket (similar to attached photo). The steamer basket is only about 3-1/2" deep, so large items are problematic. What is needed and what I believe the OP is looking for is a deeper steamer basket of the correct diameter.