Steam oven - pasta question

joc6820March 21, 2012

I ordered a Thermador steam oven as part of a package. To steam oven experts: can you cook a pound of pasta in these things? Don't see anything about it in the user manual/recipe sections. I would think a steam oven would be an ideal environment for cooking pasta. Does it work? Are the results different, better, worse than the boiling water method?

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Google "Steam Oven Pasta".
You will get a lot of hits.
click the link below to see one of them.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pasta in a steam oven

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Dodge, they cooked it covered with water. It seems that you could do that in a regular oven with good temperature control.

I'm thinking that FRESH pasta steamed in the combi would be divine, especially raviolis.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Yep, that was just one of many posts the Op will find if they take my suggestion, at least until more folks like You,attofarad, "Chime In".

OT, hmmmmm, attofarad, do you have a capacity toward electronics?


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 10:08PM
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I guess you could use a plastic grate or steamer basket...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:39PM
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I was going to say that I threw up in my mouth a little, but that vastly understates the total volume involved.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Marcolo, if you want to come cook your mama's authenic Italian food at my house, I'll put the good sheets in the guest room. That said, I buy better pasta than I can make from scratch, myself, and I do a very nice job of cooking it up. If reading about a little makes you regurgitate your meal, you might check what you've been eating. There is no functional difference between steaming pasta and steaming wonton except for the amount of firmness. Call it kreplach, it's still the same stuff...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:02AM
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You are saying that a pound of pasta, tippled out of a box (which seems the OP's question), can be steamed plain as well as it can be boiled? Not even any liquid to cover?

No dice.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Oh, is that what was making you gag? Okay. I do get that. I thought you were gagging at my lasagna trick, which I have to say is majorly excellent even if it is not the way Mrs. W did it. :) But the invitation stands. ;)

I didn't say that! I said I imagined that someone could just steam dry pasta and it would eventually get cooked. But I also said that I haven't had good luck trying to steam rice, when that is something they specifically tell you will work. I should say, I haven't tried it with sticky rice. That might work, since it's supposed to be steamed anyway. I suppose I should offer to try it. I have to make stock tomorrow. Maybe I'll try it if I'm bored.

I only flavor pasta water for specific dishes. I can't abide layered salt (tastes like getting wiped out in the surf), and I'm not fond of oily pasta. I just put flavor into the sauce/toppings and no one complains. (Sue me. I make everyone eat what I like...) I also mostly use whole wheat pasta which has a nutty taste, so it doesn't need extra flavor. That's the biggest difference I can think of between boiled and steamed--whether the water is flavored--but I don't know if steaming dry pasta actually works. :)

Someone here awhile back gave a recipe for risotto in the combi-steam. I was going to try it just to try it but it was a whole rigamarole with covering the pan with plastic wrap and all and all I could think is that I don't like cooking with plastic wrap and risotto is dead easy to make on the stove, so I did that instead. :)

Steaming a dozen fresh ravioli laid side by side does work. :) I just think they'll stick to the metal pan. I usually do them in a glazed dish.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:37AM
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I was specifically wondering about dry pasta, spaghetti-type, from a box. That's what I don't see any recipes or user manuals mentioning. I can see how fresh pasta should work well in a steam oven. Particularly stuffed types, ravioli, tortellini. One of my (apparently) misconceptions in thinking about the advantages of a steam oven was, oh boy, quicker, better, easier pasta (dried) than pulling out the big pot and boiling water. Sounds like the consensus is pasta is best made the old fashioned way.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:06AM
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A pound of dry pasta gives off about a tablespoon of starch, a fact revealed in a study published in the Washington Post by an inept food writer who thought he was proving the opposite but couldn't handle fractions. That starch has to go somewhere, and in a large pot it goes into the water and is washed away. In fact, a little of that same water can be reserved to effectively re-thicken a white sauce as needed. If you steamed the pasta, the starch would adhere as glue and your pasta would turn into a literal hot mess.

Second, try weighing cooked and dry pasta. The difference is water. The water is an important ingredient in the pasta, not an unfortunate accident. I can't imagine dry pasta being adequately and evenly rehydrated by steam alone.

Third, steaming would take a lot longer. There are some quirky, non-Italian dishes involving orzo-type pasta that get steamed over a stew or stock--for three hours. I'm sure these are tasty but I'll stick with nine minutes.

It would be interesting to hear how a steam oven reheats leftover cooked pasta compared to a MW. That seems like a worthy experiment.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:35AM
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Marcolo, I'm not disagreeing with you. I have the same hypotheses without experimenting. I have to disagree on the starch, however, because whole wheat and einkorn pasta shed very little starch, and even the white pastas I've used are different depending on the type of wheat and protein content. I think it might be possible that steaming works, however. Might.

I can answer about the leftover pasta. If it's reheated on the regenerate mode, especially if it's not too densely mounded, it comes out pretty much like new, just like anything else that's reheated. :)

I suppose I have to do the experiment now, but I don't know if I have any white pasta. If I do, it's probably something like orecchiette, which are thick compared to my whole wheat spaghetti...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:57PM
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I now have proof of what Marcolo and I were saying. No more speculating on what might be (surprisingly) possible. I put half a pound of Rustichello D'Abruzzo durum semolina (white) spaghetti in an even zigzag layer (one sting half on its two neighbors), in a non-perforated pan. There actually was a "pasta" on the clue wheel in the Rice section and it said to use the solid pan. It also said 220 degrees at 100% steam for 13 minutes. Since the name of the pasta was actually "Spaghetti 9-11 minutes" I figured this was a reasonable approximation to what the wheel said. It isn't throw-up worthy. Marcolo can be a bit dramatic. It just wasn't cooked. Kind of barely bending. And some stuck together.

I think if you steamed it for an hour it might be al dente. Maybe.

The entry on the clue wheel surely was for fresh pasta, as I said.

Meanwhile, this adventure did little enough to the spaghetti. I'm going to put it in boiling water and make a meal of it. ;)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Thanks all. I'm still happy to be getting a steam oven for all the things I know it can do well. I just had it in my head that pasta was one of those things (we make a lot of pasta). For the dry, box stuff, it's back into the boiling water. Maybe this will be motivation to buy more fresh pasta and stuffed varieties.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Yes, if what you really want are wontons.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Okay, but remember, I didn't test fresh pasta in the steam oven. I do it in the microwave in a certain way that only works if you know how (there are no transferable instructions). I haven't tried it in the steam oven because I already know a different method that works. Try it experimentally before you serve it to anyone.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:05PM
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