VIDEO| Italian Kitchen: Cooking up Italian pasta in a microwave

Photos by Shoji Kudaka
Photos by Shoji Kudaka

VIDEO| Italian Kitchen: Cooking up Italian pasta in a microwave

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

As far as cooking is concerned, I am all for cutting corners. But, when I learned that pasta could be cooked in the microwave, I had to take it with a grain of salt.  

I had heard professional chefs of Italian cuisine speak so passionately about the importance of using a large pot to cook pasta to the right texture. Doing it with an electrical appliance didn’t sound right to me.

However, flipping through TV recently, I saw several celebrity chefs give thumbs-up to this cooking method.  Hearing them rave about how good the pasta tasted as opposed to how easy it is to cook in the microwave made me want to give it a try.

Listed below is a recipe crafted after one I found online. Microwaving pasta is enough to save some time, however, I took it a step further and used a pouch of pasta sauce to increase the efficiency of this meal.

You’ll find many options for pouched sauces at your local Japanese supermarket and convenience store. There are the standard favorites like pepperoncino and carbonara, and even some unique sauces like mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and squid ink, too. Prices for pouched pasta sauce run roughly from 100 to 300 yen. I picked pesto Genovese for just 158 yen (approx. $1.17) and a bag of pasta for 100 yen. Just 258 yen for a delicious and time-saving meal.

The result of my microwaved pasta and pouched sauced much exceeded my expectations. After 12 minutes in the microwave, the noodles got a nice chewy but soft texture just like if I had used the traditional method of cooking. I mixed it with the sauce and topped with fresh basil leaves, then the instant food turned into a decent meal.

If you are very picky about pasta, this may not suit your fine sense of taste. But the easy cooking method and delicious outcome certainly made the cut for a quality, light meal.

Ingredients (for one person)

  • Pasta (100g)
  • Water (400 ml)
  • Salt (1.7 cc)
  • Pasta sauce of your choice

Recipe (Pasta with pesto Genovese)

Put pasta in a heat resistant deep plate. (Make sure this plate is deep enough to hold the pasta. Break pasta in half if it doesn’t fit in the plate.)

Add water (400ml)

Add salt (1.7cc)

Heat in the microwave at 600W for three minutes plus the time designated on the pasta package (For example, if the package says stovetop boil for 5 minutes, then add 3 more minutes to the cooking time in the microwave to make it 8 minutes in total.) Do not cover the plate with plastic wrap such as Saran Wrap while heating.)

Check that the pasta is to the level of firmness you prefer.

Carefully remove the plate from the microwave. (Careful: It might be hot!)  Then, drain the water or scoop up the pasta out onto separate plate.

Mix the pasta with your sauce and top with basil, crushed pepper or any other ingredients you like. (Some sauce requires to be heated up before being mixed with pasta)


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