10 Watt Pasta

We ran a new workshop this weekend with excellent response from participants. The workshop – Solar and Energy-Efficient Cooking – is part of an ongoing workshop series by The ECO School.

We covered a number of different solar cooker designs and cooking techniques during the first half of the workshop. But for those who have not yet made their own cooker, or for cloudy days, we introduced a number of other energy-efficient cooking techniques. Central to many of those techniques is the straw box.

Our straw box happens to be full of towels, not straw. But we still call it a straw box. The key to a good straw box in insulation on all 6 sides.

A great example of using a straw box – not to mention an excellent energy-saving cooking technique – is what we call “10 watt pasta.” This cooking technique uses a small fraction of the electricity of boiling pasta for 10 minutes on a hob (stovetop). Here’s how to make it.

1) Boil a jug. Because the heating element is inside of the container, heat transfer is more efficient than heating a kettle or sauce pan of water on the stovetop (hob). We fill the jug with our solar hot water which comes from the tap at a high temperature using no electricity.

2) Pour over pasta until covered and place in the straw box.

3) Cover the straw box and wait 20 – 25 minutes. Stir once at 10 to 12 minutes. For al dente pasta, remove at 15 minutes and stir at 8 to 10 minutes.

The pasta comes out perfectly cooked as long as you drain the water at the prescribed times. Use the intervening 25 minutes to make a healthy sauce from fresh veggies and herbs from your garden.

Bon apetito! Estwing

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