How to cook pasta in the microwave: ‘Simple’ method that is ‘far more efficient’ than a stove
Cooking pasta on the stovetop is the best method for most people, but as one chef discovered, it can also be done in the microwave. Whether you don’t have access to a stove or just want to try a less traditional method of making your dried pasta dish, it’s incredibly easy to make in less than 15 minutes. And you don’t even need to boil the kettle beforehand.
Although you may not have considered it, cooking pasta in the microwave has several advantages, one of which is that the appliance itself is “far more energy efficient” than the stove according to an expert at uSwitch.
They said: “Not only do microwaves use less energy (typically no more than 1500 watts), they are far more efficient as they only heat the food instead of wasting energy heating the air around it. There is also no warm-up time “Microwaves reach temperature practically instantly, and food takes far less time to prepare.”
What’s more, it’s incredibly easy to make – even more so than on the hob, as Liana, founder of Liana’s Kitchen discovered. She explained that as a self-confessed kitchen “gadget geek”, she was surprised by the results of the cooking method.
On her cooking blog, she wrote: “After my initial dismissal of using a microwave to cook something that really doesn’t take long to cook the ‘traditional way’, I realized that there are actually valid reasons to cook pasta in a microwave vs. a kettle.”
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How to make pasta in the microwave
Start by portioning out a portion of dried pasta in a microwave safe bowl and cover it completely with cold water, leaving some space for the water to fill up while you cook.
While trying the cooking hack, Liana used fusilli pasta, although it should work with almost any shape. However, you must divide the spaghetti, linguine, pappardelle and tagliatelle into smaller portions to ensure they cook through.
Liana said: “Alternatively, you can use boiling water, either from the kettle or by boiling it in the microwave first. Personally, I find it much easier to just use cold water and I find it doesn’t change the taste or texture.”
As for the preparation of the pasta, the exact times will depend on the recommended figure indicated on the package. According to the food blogger, an easy way to determine this is to add three minutes to the suggested duration.
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It is important to note that this cooking technique is designed for smaller portions – around one or two servings. When you cook more than this, it may take a little longer to cook.
Liana said: “Just check the pasta is cooked through before you drain the water as you would on the hob. If it needs additional cooking time, just put it back in the microwave and check every minute.
“I wouldn’t recommend trying to cook too much pasta at the same time as it can clump together and not cook through properly.”
The food blogger noted that while it wasn’t that “traditional,” using the microwave to cook pasta was “a great easy option” when you “don’t have any other options.”
If you have enough leftovers, these can of course be heated in the microwave when you want to use them up.
Once cooled, cooked pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eaten within two days. An expert at Barilla said: “Pasta that has been cooked but has not been mixed with sauce should be tossed with extra virgin olive oil before storing to avoid lumps.”
Alternatively, you can coat unseasoned pasta in a little water before returning it to the microwave, although butter also works.
Place on a microwave-safe plate and cover before heating for one to two minutes on full power.