Problem cooking orzo at high altitude

I can cook orzo to perfection at low altitudes (cook time: 11 minutes) but high altitude (8000 feet) presents a big problem. The same amount of orzo cooked for the same 11 minutes turns out mushy and not as plump. I'm hoping someone can help.

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8 Comments

SKK June 5, 2012
Janet, let us know how it turns out. Good luck!
 
SKK June 5, 2012
I have cooked and lived at high altitude and everything takes longer. Water boils faster at high altitude AND it takes longer to cook food because the water boils at a lower temperature.

 
JanetFL June 5, 2012
Thanks, SKK - I will experiment with longer cooking times. It's odd that other types of pasta, such as fettucine and penne, turn out just fine using my low altitude cooking times.
 
ReneePussman June 5, 2012
Higher altitude reduces The temperature at which water boils. So it seems unlikely that the same amount of time would produce overcooked orzo. I would guess you either timed it incorrectly or you are using a different brand/size of orzo and that is why it is overcooked.
 
JanetFL June 5, 2012
Renee, I'm using the same brand and size orzo that I use at low altitude. I should have explained that while the orzo at high altitude is mushy, it doesn't seem overcooked. It doesn't plump up as fully and it retains a bit of hardness in the center. As I'm responding to you, I'm wondering if I should experiment with longer cooking times. Any thoughts?
 
ReneePussman June 11, 2012
I would try cooking them a bit longer. Maybe by a minute or two at first, then adjust depending on outcome. Also. Are you covering the pot when the orzo is in?
 
JanetFL June 5, 2012
Thanks, lloreen. I will give it another try and see if that is my problem.
 
lloreen June 5, 2012
hmm...do you let the water get to full rolling boil before adding the orzo? I have cooked it backpacking at about 9 or 10,000ft and it just takes a lot of patience to wait for the water to come to a full boil before adding the pasta. I am always tempted to add it as soon as I see bubbles, but that will make it mushy.
 
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