NYE, cooking pasta off the flame

safe parking for NYE

I prefer to be in the boonies on New Years Eve but VA apppointments still have me stealth camping in town. Job 1 was finding a spot where it’s least likely a drunk could run me over.

NYE parking

This is the view out of the van’s rear window. The spot is on the side of the street and protected by four curbs and a signpost. A determined drunk could make it through but IMO it was a pretty good spot.

There was also a water spigot within easy reach of the potable hose. Since I’d be topping off water I decided to cook pasta for dinner.

steeping pasta

steeping cooked mixed

I’d been wanting to revisit some “coast” methods of cooking to further reduce fuel consumption. Here’s the reddit discussion that led directly to this experiment.

2qt salted water
bit of oil
8oz Walmart (GV) spaghetti

packet of Ragu for One sauce
black pepper

bring water to boil
add pasta, boil another 2mins
turn off heat and allow to steep for 10 mins

ragu for one

I saw this 4-pack of Ragu sauce somewhere and bought it. I don’t eat much sauce so bottles or cans largely go wasted. They are in retort bags like the tuna.

In theory I could get $0.50 portions buy buying canned sauce and keeping it in the fridge until the next use. This is messy and I usually end up discarding the leftovers. :-( This makes at least $1 portions.

The pouched portions are $0.73/ea, which seems reasonable to me. Convenience and storage space much better.

my concerns

  1. the pasta would be clumped together because it was not agitated by boiling
  2. the texture would be Teh Suck
  3. the ragu for one would be a waste of money

the experiment

I did not time the initial boil accurately - I suspect it was 1.5mins.1 I am at 4k’ ASL.

After turning off the propane I stuck the Ragu packet under the lid handle for pre-warming. I did not heat separately.

After 10 mins steep the pasta was definitely not done. I gave it 2 more minutes and it was better but not done. After a total of 15 mins of steep I called it, judging the texture to be deteriorating with no improvement in done-ness. On the upside very little of the pasta stuck together.

Since the sauce was warm was warm but not hot I turned on the heat again and stirred it into the pasta to heat.


I suspect one or more factors would have helped:

  • 3 - 5 minutes of boil
  • thinner pasta
  • more water (more thermal inertia)
  • sea level boiling

I’ll try one more time with longer boiling times. If no improvement I will consider it a failure.


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  1. I was having problems with the OEM android clock app and had replaced it with the Better Alarm app. After starting the boil I realized the app lacks a stopwatch and had to find my backup phone.