I saw a post recently on Chow that made me very skeptical: cook pasta in a frying pan, just covering the pasta with cold water and cooking on high until tender.
This goes against all thinking on pasta cooking: everyone says we need vast amounts of boiling water to properly cook pasta. Yet this new recommendation came from Harold McGee, a very respected food scientist. So I gave it a try. And you should too, as the results were wonderful. Watch the video, then try it out with my spaghetti carbonara!