Steaming your vegetables over the same pot that is cooking your pasta not only saves time, space, and water, but it's a great way to ensure that they both get done simultaneously. It's the ultimate kitchen multitasking: Instead of trying to coordinate two different pots of boiling water, using the same one is perfect for making sure that you aren't waiting on those veggies after your noodles are already al dente -- or vice versa. This is super easy to do if you have a steamer basket that can sit on top of your pasta pot, but even if you don't, it's still possible to cook both on the same burner with a simple hack.
All you really need is your pasta pot, the lid, and an oven cooling rack. Well, and your chopped veggies, noodles, and water of course. Once you've brought the water to a boil and added your pasta, just place the cooling rack directly on top of the pot, spread the veggies on top of it, and place the lid over the veggies to trap the steam.
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What Kinds Of Veggies Should You Use?
This hack should work with just about any kind of vegetable -- as long as it will be steamed through in the same amount of time that the pasta will take to cook (or less). A few veggies that you won't be able to steam this way include artichokes, sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes), and beets. Not only are artichokes too big to steam this way, but these veggies will take much longer to cook than the noodles will.
One thing to be aware of is how small you chop your vegetables when using this particular steaming method. You don't want to cut them up too small or they could fall through the spaces in the rack and end up boiling with the pasta instead. While that wouldn't be the end of the world, it's definitely not the goal here. As such, pearl onions should be avoided altogether.
This Hack Can Work For More Than Just Veggies
As useful as this technique is, you might be wondering if there is anything else you can steam over a pot of cooking pasta. And there is! Really, as long as it will be done within the same timeframe as the noodles and fits on your cooling rack, that's all that matters.
Fish and seafood are great examples of other foods that can be steamed this way. Of course, you have to allow for the fact that your noodles may take on a bit of their taste. However, if you're already planning to add fish, shrimp, mussels, or another type of small seafood to your pasta dish then this is definitely a win-win situation worth taking advantage of. After all, regular-size filets can easily be done within four to eight minutes, so why not give a bit of fish a try? Whatever you're steaming, using an oven cooling rack over boiling pasta is a great way to cut down on dishes and set your foods up to be done at the same time. After trying it, you probably won't miss your separate pot and steamer insert method one bit.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.