How do you cook pasta in the microwave?

Mike's Red Pepper Pasta (photo by clairity - CC-BY)

Mike's Red Pepper Pasta (photo by clairity - CC-BY)

It’s very easy to cook all kinds of pasta in the microwave.

First, boil a large quantity of water. I use an electric kettle.

Tip the dry pasta into a large microwave-safe bowl, such as a glass casserole bowl, and cover generously with the boiling water. You need enough water to cover the pasta even after it has expanded in size as it cooks and absorbs water.

Put it in the microwave, uncovered, for the number of minutes stated on the packet of the pasta. Spaghetti will need stirring every three minutes or so to avoid it sticking. Macaroni and some other smaller pastas will need stirring once half-way though. Larger pastas won’t need stirring at all.

When it’s finished, drain off the water. I just put on the bowl’s lid and drain through the edge of that. It works well because the casserole bowl lid fits loosely, leaving a nice draining slot. Even so, you need to be careful with the boiling water as you drain it.

It’s done!

For a very quick dish, stir in half a jar of red pesto. Or, if your kids have similar tastes to mine, you can add a cupful of peas (frozen peas that have been heated) plus a can of sweetcorn (drained) and lots of cheese. Stir in the cheese to distribute it evenly as it melts. It takes only a few minutes and always gets finished.

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  • bionic says:

    anyone who cooks pasta in microwave needs to be taken out the back and shot!

  • eiffel says:

    The essence of cooking pasta is to have it in boiling water, uncovered. The pasta itself doesn’t know whether the water was heated by microwaves or by thermal conduction.
    Microwaving in boiling water differs fundamentally from other forms of microwave cooking which depend on the microwaves directly heating the substance being cooked.

  • Penny says:

    If I have to bring the water to a boil anyway, before putting it into the microwave, why wouldn’t I just add the pasta to the water in the pot? I don’t see the convenience in this method at all.

  • eiffel says:

    Penny, the advantages are (1) easier washing-up of the bowl, (2) more predictable cooking due to the timer on the microwave, (3) cooked in a container suitable for serving, keeping leftovers, or re-heating, and (4) reduced energy usage.
    I boil the water in an electric kettle. If you boil the water in a pot on the stovetop, then you may as well add the pasta to the boiling water in the pot.

  • Mari says:

    I’m going to a hotel with no stove and needed to know if I could pasta in the microwave so thank you

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