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Barilla Develops No-Boil Pasta; Science Makes Water Boil Faster

If the five minutes it takes to boil water is getting you down, read on.


Making spaghetti sits fairly high in the pantheon of "things that even the worst cook can cook," fitting somewhere between instant ramen (1. boil water 2. add noodles 3. add seasonings) and a bag of potato chips (1. open bag of potato chips). Nevertheless, Barilla has just launched a line of pastas called Pronto that eliminates the most arduous (and arguably, most dangerous) step to pasta-making: boiling water.

That's right, to make life easier for those of us who have a hard time walking and chewing gum simultaneously, Pronto pastas are prepared simply by pouring three cups of cold water over the noodles and stirring for 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. This will leave an ordinarily hapless chef with beautifully al dente pasta without the trouble of boiling and draining water. Never mind that you're not actually saving much time and that having to constantly stir the pasta for 10 minutes may actually cause more of an annoyance than it seeks to alleviate. Or that your pasta is steeping in its own starchy, roux-like liquid for 10 minutes.

Not ready to commit to a new pasta-making protocol? Are you interested in simply, say, boiling water more quickly? Maybe by using a super-cool VIRUSScientists at Drexel University have discovered a way to triple water-boiling efficiency by using a virus commonly found on the tobacco leaf. When a heating element is coated with this virus, the number and size of tiny air bubbles that form on said heating element during heating is greatly reduced.

The science, in layman's terms, is this: the bigger the air bubbles that form when you're boiling a pot of water, the greater the water is insulated from the pot. That inefficiency slows down the transfer of heat. By reducing the number and size of bubbles, water can be boiled much more quickly. While this technology may eventually help you, the novice chef, boil water rapidly, it also has practical uses in the field of cooling electronic components and nuclear reactors.