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Cooking pasta in high elevations (10-1200 feet)? Ramen the only way to go?
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Michael C
(chinookhead) - F - M
Cooking pasta in high elevations (10-1200 feet)? Ramen the only way to go? on 07/03/2012 07:12:17 MDT Print View

I love pasta on hikes, but many of the places that I'll be camping at this summer in Colorado will be from 10,000-11,500 feet up and I've never cooked at these altitudes. On for example, the standard pasta that I usually eat it lists a 9-11 minute boiling time, so around how much longer should I expect to have to boil it at these altitudes? Is using Ramen noodles pretty much the only practical alternative without using rediculous amounts of fuel?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Cooking pasta in high elevations (10-1200 feet)? Ramen the only way to go? on 07/03/2012 07:41:40 MDT Print View

I make a pasta dinner with dried tortellini (Barilla) by just adding hot water and letting it set in a cozy for 15 minutes. It's done, and it's good.


Angle hair pasta is also an option for "just add boiling water" (195°F at 10,000') .

Edited by greg23 on 07/03/2012 07:44:10 MDT.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Pre-Cook on 07/03/2012 07:55:13 MDT Print View

You could also make the pasta at home, then dehydrate it in your oven. It's pretty easy.

Or use couscous.

Jon Fong

Pasta on 07/03/2012 08:03:26 MDT Print View

You can also soak the pasta in water for several hours prior to boiling. This will reduce the overall cooking time and save fuel. Best regards - Jon

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
Investigate Freezer Bag Cooking on 07/03/2012 09:27:58 MDT Print View

I've not come across a pasta I couldn't cook freezer bag style. Some pastas have more leeway than others (water & soak time) and I don't like having to be precise on the trail. Couscous is probably the easiest pasta to FB cook as it is the most forgiving. Regular egg noodles can be a pain because they turn to mush if in the cozy just slightly too long.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Cooking pasta in high elevations on 07/03/2012 12:54:19 MDT Print View

I've had good luck with Barrilla Tortellini using a cozy (as Greg said above). Ronzoni makes a 3 min rotini that also rehydrates well using a cozy.

For just about anything, if you have a stove you can bring the meal to a boil, put it in the cozy for a while (I've gone up to 15-20 min) then reheat to boiling so it's nice and hot or put it back into a cozy again and repeat. This minimizes actual boil time for things that take a really long time to cook.

Edited by rgless on 07/03/2012 12:55:24 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Cooking pasta in high elevations on 07/03/2012 13:03:37 MDT Print View

Richard: +1 on heat once, let stand, reheat to eat.

You save significant fuel while only taking a few more minutes (maybe 16-18 total instead of 12 minutes of boiling at sea level). You also avoid making a mess when the starchy water forths and boils over out of the pot.

A variant is: heat once, let stand, (check doneness), drain, add sauce, reheat to eat. It is MUCH easier and safer to drain 70C pasta than 100C pasta. You typically don't want to reheat with sauce all the way to boiling because then you have to let it cool again to eat it.

"Cooking" pasta is in large part just rehydrating it. Presoaking or setting it aside in a cozy lets you cut the cooking time a lot.

Unsure? Try it at home to get dialed in with the boil, let sit, reheat approach. Then add 20% more time at 10,000 feet.