Several years ago I was helping a friend sell new products at a local flea market. The offerings included lots of microwave cooking containers, and some had vents on the top for steaming veggies or rice. I was explaining how to use an item to one lady, and she asked me, “Can you cook spaghetti in a microwave?” I had never thought about it, and answered in the negative.
Later it occurred to me that maybe she was just not that impressed with the microwave’s capabilities and wished to stick with her old reliable stove. That’s OK, no one is forcing anyone to switch to a microwave full time.
I continued to cook pasta on the stove with a colander to strain it, and later with a stainless steel set that included a metal strainer unit that stayed inside the pot while you cooked the pasta, and lifted out to drain it.
My microwave cookware’s potential for cooking pasta lay unrealized till I was living alone and resenting the time eaten up just getting the water to the boiling point. Aha, one day inspiration struck at last. I threw pasta and water into the cookware that had a vent on top. (The vent stays open while in the microwave; close it after removing food to keep it warm or to steam veggies or rice.)
The vent allowed steam to escape but also made it ridiculously easy to drain the hot water when done. Voila, as they say.
So now all I do is throw as much pasta as I want for a meal into any microwave container, leaving plenty of room for boiling water. There is no need to fill with water to the top of the container; just fill to cover pasta with an inch or two of water. The container doesn’t have to have a vent in the cover, but it helps. Do not use elbow macaroni as it seems it always gets way too soft on me. No preheating of water needed. I put water and pasta in the ‘mike’, set it for 10 minutes at half power, and it is done.
My old family summer favorite is a tuna salad with spaghetti noodles and peas. I break the pasta into convenient lengths when putting it in the water to cook. When done, add a can of baby peas, a can of tuna, sprinkle with lemon pepper or other spices to taste, and a generous dollop of mayonnaise. Serve on lettuce leaves if desired. This is a quick and easy summer dish for days when you really don’t want to cook.
Microwave pasta has also worked fine for rotini or other shaped pasta. I cook it first, add spaghetti sauce to cover, and put it back in the microwave to heat through. I know, this is not the standard protocol. But it works.
For pasta primavera, I add frozen broccoli and other mixed veggies to the pasta in the water, and adjust cooking times accordingly. Drain the water, and add Italian dressing and spices to suit.
Oh, I almost forgot to add that you may be able to forgo cooking pasta completely. I accidentally discovered this when I set aside some pasta in water to cook a bit later. I came back after nearly an hour to find that the pasta had absorbed as much water as if it had been cooked. Neato. That gives me another option if the microwave is already in use for some other dish or dishes. Do not leave pasta in water too long, like overnight, because it will become terribly mushy.
You can check out the ‘other’ instructions for cooking pasta in the microwave, quoted from Microwave Cooking for One by Marie T Smith, at www.microwavecookingforone.com/MoreRecipes/PastaPastaPasta.html .