When it comes to cooking pasta consistently and precisely, a pasta cooker is a must-have! Designed to cook large batches of pastas to the perfect al dente texture every time, these high-tech pieces of kitchen equipment are truly essential to any Italian kitchen and should be part of your lineup if you cook pastas on a regular basis. With little leeway for cost and space, restaurant managers are always looking for ways to simplify their kitchen setup by adding precision cooking equipment that can be used regularly and reliably. If you’re looking for an efficient appliance with reliability when cooking pasta, a specialized pasta cooker might be right for you!
What is a pasta cooker, and how does it work?
Frymaster is the leading brand for pasta cookers, and their success lies in the design. These cookers look similar to a fryer, utilizing a basket for the product and a water bath for cooking. These cookers can be programmed to drop and lift the basket at pre designated times to ensure precision, and there is a wide overflow drain to prevent boil-overs. There’s also, ‘An auto-fill/starch skimmer keeps the water level at the correct height and removes excess starch residue from the water’s surface. There is no need for refills, so the water is ready to cook, saving energy and time.’ With so much of the process automated, your cooks can simply program the pasta cooker and get back to preparing other parts of the meal, helping to alleviate labor costs and efforts!
Gas vs. Electric
There are two main types of pasta cookers: gas and electric. With electric pasta cookers, the controls are easily programmable, and you can set up the cooker to cook pasta automatically by using the touchpad timer. At the same time, electric cookers have a fast preheat and recovery time, making for quicker turnover! They are available in 8kw or 17kw, and because it’s electric, you can typically instal these types of pasta cookers without a hood.
Gas pasta cookers feature high-efficiency infrared burners and electronic ignition. While they’re called ‘gas’ cookers, there’s still an electrical component to the workcenter where you can automate the cooking process. Gas cookers heat the water quickly and can sustain the temperature for long periods of time! In fact, gas cookers can transform 30 lbs. of dry pasta into 136 perfectly prepared 8 oz. servings/hr. That’s 5 lbs. of dry pasta per 8-10 minute cook! If you’re a restaurant that has a variety of pasta dishes or tends to serve bulk amounts of pasta, then this type of cooker is essential.
Tips to Shortening the Process
If you’re looking at investing in a pasta cooker, you’re probably a restaurant that serves a reasonable amount of pasta! In that case, you might be looking at finding additional ways to cut down on the time it takes to cook pasta. Cooking pasta thoroughly from a dry state can eat up a lot of your chef’s time, even if they aren’t hovering over the pasta cooker. To improve turnaround time, consider this: Cook your pasta ahead of time, but only halfway! Cook the pasta just under al dente and then drain it and run it under cold water to halt the cooking process. Toss the pasta in oil and spread it on a sheet pan to be stored in your cooler. The next time you have to cook pasta, simply treat this pre cooked pasta as if it were dry, but you can cut the cooking time in half!