We’re not sure why this is even a thing.
You’ve probably seen it on the grocery store shelf, in a box that’s a little taller—and a lot shorter—than regular spaghetti boxes: Pot-sized spaghetti. You may have had questions, like: Why is this even a thing? How can someone not be able to crack pasta in half? (Seriously, it’s not a karate board. It’s basically just flour and water, and maybe like an egg.)
But then, we found, in our midst, a purchaser of this nonsensical, easy-to-replicate product. This is someone who has not only bought, but even often prefers pre-broken noodles.
We had questions. So we present here, for your consideration, a defender of these tiny boxes of spaghetti, linguini, and other long noodles. He may even talk you into trying them yourself.
Does it really save that much time?
It isn’t that it saves time per se—your noodles will still have to boil the same, and breaking a serving of spaghetti or linguine in half is easily done in a few seconds for most.
Okay, then. So… why?
A major reason is that I know I’m getting consistency. If I try to break my own pasta up, I’m going to find a hodgepodge of long noodles and a few errant, teeny sized bits that tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
At a restaurant, I may want to chicly twirl my pasta onto a fork, but at home, shorter noodles make it easier to simply scoop up a few bites at a time and know that they’ll get to my mouth without making a catastrophic mess all over my face. It comes in handy when I’m absentmindedly gaping at whatever I’m binging on Netflix, or using my free hand to scan social feeds on my phone.
But wait. Is it really that hard to crack pasta in half?
If there’s room for error, you best believe I will somehow find my way into a situation.
There have been plenty of times where I thought I would simply break half a box of angel hair in half. Suddenly, shards of pasta are careening in every direction: over the stove, into my burners, into the boiling pot, all over the floor, into an eye (yes, really!), in the nooks and crannies of cabinets, you name it.
Cracking pasta is an art form that I simply haven’t mastered yet. Kudos to those who have.
But.. you just put your hands close together, aim into the pot, and... snap.
I feel like if you use too much force, you send noodles flying everywhere. But if you try a gentler approach, you’ll find that you break noodles at odd points and ends, ending up with a misshapen and disappointing mess.
I don’t even have to worry my pretty little head about this with my handy dandy box of pot-sized noodles.
Okay, fair enough. Are they more expensive?
Sometimes they’re cheaper! You’ll find that in the pasta aisle, there is a great chance you’ll find these smaller, more compact boxes on a special sale, since so many unenlightened cooks (ahem) scoff at them.
In many cases, retailers price pot-sized pasta the same as regularly sized pasta. At Target, for example, a 16-ounce box of pre-shortened spaghetti runs you the same as 16 ounces of regular product—just 99 cents.
Hmm. Any other advantages?
For me, pot-sized pasta is a great way to make sure I have noodles in the house without hogging cabinet space, either. Their packages are much more compact and manageable than an awkwardly long package of spaghetti or linguine, for example. If you’re going to break them in half anyway, why store them in their fuller, space-hogging form?
Also, I enjoy making sauce from scratch every once in awhile, but I will be honest and say on the fly I tend to use bottled tomato sauce—which can be runny.
Those flimsy, longer noodles tend to send bits of that runny red sauce flying all over my chin and clothing when I’m eating. With pot-sized pasta, there’s less of a opportunity to make a mess.
Aha! So you just need to learn how to make a good sauce.
Okay, sure. Maybe I could use a few pointers.
Then you could eat long pasta!
Well, there’s been more than one night where I wanted a pasta dish, but my duo of large pots weren't clean. The size makes them versatile enough to go in a wide arrange of cooking vessels, which is another plus.
Wait, you only have one regular-sized pot?
Look, I’m a single millennial! Excusez-moi if I don’t have a robust set of cookware just yet. So I’ll probably keep shopping for pot-sized pasta for now, thank you very much.