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I just found out how my girlfriend makes pasta: She uses a (non-stick) frying pan to boil the water. I told her she should use a cooking pan. When she asked why I did not have a response. After some internet searching I still have no plausible arguments, it just seems absurd.

  • She used my largest frying pan. This one can hold more than enough water to cook pasta. – Sandro Sep 21 '17 at 18:35
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If you're making a small enough quantity of pasta for it to totally fit in the pan like that, it's fine. The idea that you need several quarts of water, several times the volume of the pasta, is a bit of a myth.

All you really need is enough water so that once the pasta is cooked and fully expanded, it's still covered. So depending on your appetite and the size of the pan, this might work for one or two servings, but not a full meal for many people.

The main concerns I'd have with cooking in a frying pan are:

  • since it's a broader surface, you'll lose water to evaporation more quickly, and risk ending up with too little water even if you started with enough - you might need to watch it more carefully than a big pot
  • the sides aren't tall enough to contain it for long if it starts to foam and boil over - again, you might need to watch carefully
  • it won't be able to hold enough to cook a very large quantity of pasta

If you avoid all those, I don't really see the problem!

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    I do this all the time. I can turn angel hair pasta into edibles in about five minutes. I put about a pint of water into the pan, turn it to high, and boil another pint in the electric kettle. They boil in about a minute, since I can use the larger burner. It's plenty for a single serving of long, thin noodles. Perfect for quick comfort food. – Joshua Engel Sep 21 '17 at 21:01
  • Your answer is a good one . When you address the surface to volume ratio with respect to evaporation, you could add that regulate the salt concentration gets way difficult. Risk is to get a too salty pasta. – Alchimista Dec 1 '17 at 12:13

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