There are more efficient ways to cook pasta besides dropping it into a big pot of boiling, salted water. For example, next time pasta’s on the menu, try turning off the burner once you drop the pasta and letting it cook in the already-hot water.
The folks over at Cook’s Illustrated tried this method out with several different types of pasta including spaghetti, farfalle, shells and ziti, and it worked like a charm. They explain why:
Starches absorb water at approximately [82°C]. As long as the water is at a rolling boil [100°C] when you add the pasta and your kitchen is at normal room temperature, the water will remain well above [82°C] off the heat for longer than the typical 8 to 10 minutes it takes for the pasta to cook through.
Once you drop the pasta into boiling water, cover it. Stir your pasta a couple times to prevent sticking, then cover again and let it sit until it’s al dente. You’ll have perfectly cooked pasta without keeping the burner on, wasting energy, or having to wait around the kitchen to make sure your pot doesn’t boil over.
What Is Low-Temp Pasta? [Cook’s Illustrated]