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Yes, you can Cook Pasta in the Microwave!
Old 09-28-2009, 08:51 AM   #1
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Yes, you can Cook Pasta in the Microwave!

Yes, you can cook pasta in the microwave and have it turn out great. It tastes the same as stove top - boiling is still boiling after all.

I finally decided to try this pasta cooker gadget Amazon.com: Fasta Pasta The Microwave Cooker It takes about the same time for the pasta to cook as stovetop, but you skip the time waiting for the water to boil, so it is a lot faster. Also - you use less water. The cooker also strains the pasta.

In the limited space of an RV kitchen, sometimes boiling pasta on the stove top was just too much trouble. After reading all the rave Amazon reviews, I decided to give it a try. It looked perfect for RV living.

Well after using it about 10 times, I have to say this gadget is amazing! We do mostly whole wheat pasta and it works great. I don't think we'll ever cook pasta on the stove top again. This is so much less hassle. The cooker 11.5 x 5.6 x 3.5 inches, and rinses easily after cooking - no colander for straining pasta, no pot for boiling water/cooking pasta.

This is also the only "microwave cooking" gadget we own.

We had to make a few adjustments. We salt the water - for some reason the instructions leave that out, but the pasta IMO tastes awful unsalted. Also, my cooking times were several minutes less than the instructions to get the right level of al dente. I expect this is a combination of microwave power differences and our own taste.

BTW - the lid stays OFF while cooking - that way it doesn't boil over. A common mistake which DH made right away! The lid is for straining the pasta.

I've done several things. Simplest - microwave pasta, then microwave sauce and combine. More common - have a nice sauce or dish cooking stovetop, microwave pasta just until very al dente and then add to stovetop sauce for finish. Done penne, farfalle, linguine - all good.

Finally, I got brave enough to try lasagna. A stack of 9 is what the cooker holds - just enough for 9x13 casserole. I had given up on lasagna due to the hassle, and I wasn't really crazy about the no-cook noodles - OK, but not as enjoyable as regular.

9 whole-wheat lasagna noodles - it did great. Easy to strain and cool them, then leave them laying flat in the cooker, until ready to assemble.

I made a "Greek Lasagna", my own creation. It was fantastic. I'll post the recipe later.

Audrey
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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Terrific find! Our RV (Roadtrek) is too small to use the stovetop -- humidity/grease considerations. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:06 AM   #3
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Might be worth picking up one of those. The reviews on Amazon are also glowing about the product.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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Sounds very helpful, Audrey! If I end up with a larger kitchen after I move north, I might get one. Right now I have a galley style kitchen, with extremely limited cabinet space so, I don't have room for it. I don't own a colander either.... no room for one. I just drain using a slotted spoon. Oh, poor me. Actually I never think about it for some reason.
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:06 AM   #5
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I didn't even need to find space for it. I was able to just set it on top of one of my other gadgets up in a cabinet since it's not tall and it weighs nothing.

Another thing - it's really easy to do small servings of pasta. In fact that's probably what it is best for - 8 ounces or less. Supposedly it can handle a pound but I don't have reason to cook that much pasta!

There is a cookbook available too - but the reviews I read said it wasn't worth it, just use your normal recipes.

Audrey
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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Please post your lasagna recipe. I made lasagna once and messed it up. I would love to have a sure-fire recipe for it.
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Greek Lasagna
Old 09-28-2009, 11:31 AM   #7
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Greek Lasagna

Audrey's Greek Lasagna

I created this "Greek Lasagna" to use up some ratatouille that I made and screwed up. I forgot a key ratatouille ingredient - peppers, and the grocery store was too far away to return for them. So I did sort of an eggplant and zucchini stir-fry that by itself just wasn't that interesting. I decided to freeze it and use it later.

I wanted to make something like Greek Moussaka, pairing the eggplant and zucchini stir-fry with ground lamb, but since the eggplant was already cut up in the stir-fry, and I didn't want to mess with a potato layer, I decided to use lasagna noodles.

I used this recipe Lamb and Eggplant Moussaka Recipe at Epicurious.com as a guide for the spiced tomato lamb and the bechamel/cheese sauce. I also used 1/2 a jar of Muir Glen's Pasta Sauce with Cabernet Sauvignon, so I didn't make the lamb mixture from scratch, but I did add onion and the spices.

Cooked 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles in the microwave pasta cooker until just (under) done. Drained and rinsed well in cold water, left in cooker until assembly.

First layer - covered bottom of 9x13 casserole with (additional) Muir Glen pasta sauce, laid 3 noodles on top. Covered with 1/2 the meat sauce and sprinkled some shredded parmesan/pecorino romano on top.

Second layer - 3 more noodles, eggplant zucchini stir-fry, some crumbled feta cheese sprinkled on top.

Third layer - final 3 noodles, meat sauce. Poured the white sauce on top. It really would take 2 1/2 cups of sauce to cover this size casserole. My 2 cups didn't quite make it to the edges but it still turned out great.

I used the shredded parmesan/pecorino romano mix in the white/cheese sauce too. I didn't make it that cheesy and I left out the eggs. Rather, I made sure the nutmeg flavor dominated, so I used a good 1/4 tsp.

Baked the lasagna per directions (45 mins, 350 degrees) for the moussaka except that I covered it with foil for the first 20 minutes.

It came out sooooooo good! It had a very silky texture - the bechamel, the lasagna noodles, and the lamb itself all contributed to the texture. And the flavors blended so well. My husband raved about it.

This would be a great way to use left-over ratatouille anyway - even if it did turn out right!

I guess I'll have to write up this recipe properly. I think DH expects me to do it again some day.

Audrey
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Please post your lasagna recipe. I made lasagna once and messed it up. I would love to have a sure-fire recipe for it.
What I made is layered similar to the classic Italian lasagna, but there are some major differences. Italian lasagna is made with two layers of thick meat/tomato sauce (i.e. ragu), with a center layer of spiced ricotta cheese. The topping is usually grated cheese (no white sauce). Or sometimes people put meat sauce and ricotta together in some of the layers.

I don't have a favorite recipe yet, but I usually look at the food network website to choose recipes when I want to make something new. That and epicurious.com. This one looks interesting Lasagne Bolognese with Spinach Recipe at Epicurious.com. It uses the no-boil lasagna noodles.

The nice thing about lasagna is that it is a very flexible casserole - you can do pretty much whatever you want. The bad thing is that it can be prep intensive. But if you already have a ragu made from some other meal, it goes much faster.

Audrey
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for that, audreyh1!
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:34 PM   #10
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After reading all the rave Amazon reviews, I decided to give it a try. It looked perfect for RV living.
It has good reviews here too. Achiever51 is in the same area as the inventor:
Becoming less wasteful/more socially responsible

We still haven't gotten around to figuring out the timing on ramen in the Fasta Pasta cooker. When we're eating ramen, it usually means that we're already too tired or hungry to experiment. But it's worth buying the recipe book that's sold with the cooker.

If we could brown our ground meat/poultry in the convection/microwave oven instead of on top of a range burner then we'd only turn the stove on once or twice a year.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:55 PM   #11
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I ordered the Cooker and the book. The book arrived today.

Fasta Lasagna
Serves 6
Quick and easy when time is short

9 Lasagna Noodles
1 tsp Salt
1 lb Ground Beef
1 small Onion
4 Mushrooms
1 glove Garlic, Minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 - 15oz can Tomato Sauce
1 - 6oz can Tomato Paste
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 - cup shredded Mozzarella
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Place Pasta and Salt in Cooker. Add water to Level 4. Cook 16-18 minutes.

Meanwhile:

Brown Beef in skillet; medium heat. Chop Onion, slice Mushrooms. Add Onion, Garlic, Salt & Pepper to skillet until meat has browned and Onion Tender. Add Tomato Sauce, Tomata Paste, Mushrooms, and Oregano. Cook until heated.

Back to the Pasta:

Remove Pasta from Microwave; rinse with cold water and drain. Spread 1/4 meat mixture in bottom of 9x3 pan. Top with 3 noodles, 1/3 Mozzarella, and 1/3 Cheddar. Repeat. Top with meat mixture and Parmesan. Place in Broiler until brown.

I can see doing all, except the final browning, with a Microwave Oven while on the road. The meat mixture could be pre-cooked and then frozen. We do have a Toaster Oven (couldn't live without one... at home or on the road) so the final browning should present no problem.

There is, also, a "Vegetable Lasagna" recipe in this book.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #12
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Well, why don't I completely hijack this thread? I can't wait to try this in the Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker:

Spicy Udon Noodles

Here's a version of a common Asia restaurant offering that should be perfect for the Fasta Pasta. Look in the Asian food section of your grocery store for the Japanese wheat noodles. This recipe is high in protein and easy to make: you'll be finishing the sauce about the time the noodles are done.

Active time: 8 minutes. Total time: 8 minutes. Serves 1. Vegan.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet of udon noodles (noodles usually come divided into servings)

1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup thinly sliced or shredded raw vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, or green onions

Method
  1. In a small pan, mix water and salt. Add udon noodles. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium or just enough to keep noodles barely boiling. Cook until noodles are tender, about 3 minutes (will have to test this).
  2. In the bowl in which you plan to eat the noodles, mix the remaining ingredients, taking the two tablespoons of hot water from the noodle pot. Stir until smooth. Slice or shred the vegetables.
  3. Drain the noodles and put in bowl with sauce. Stir to coat noodles. Top with vegetables and serve immediately.
Tips and notes
  • To make larger quantities of this dish, mix the sauce and noodles in a larger bowl.
  • The original restaurant recipe didn't include the raw vegetables but instead sprinkled sesame seeds over the sauced noodles. The salad adds crunch and makes these noodles a complete meal.
  • Compared to rotini, udon noodles cook very quickly. Organic udon noodles are often cheaper and easier to find than organic, high-protein Italian-style noodles.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:44 PM   #13
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We had to make a few adjustments. We salt the water - for some reason the instructions leave that out, but the pasta IMO tastes awful unsalted. Also, my cooking times were several minutes less than the instructions to get the right level of al dente. I expect this is a combination of microwave power differences and our own taste.
The added salt and the need to modify the cooking times might be related. Adding salt (or most any soluble solid) raises the boiling point of water. Liquid water won't get hotter than the boiling point (at a given pressure), so by adding salt you increase the temperature of the liquid in which the noodles are cooking. Thus, they'd need to cook for a shorter time at this higher temp.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:50 PM   #14
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Does it cook rice as well?
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:10 PM   #15
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Does it cook rice as well?
Good question. However for ten bucks:

Amazon.com: Microwave Rice Cooker: Health & Personal Care

or better yet:

Best Microwave Rice Cookers
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:09 PM   #16
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Dang it all! This thread has me intriqued, so now I have to order one too!
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:19 PM   #17
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Does it cook rice as well?
Just bought a "fuzzy logic" rice cooker which can cook pasta as well but I'll stick to the boil on the stove method for pasta using a steamer pan set.
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:01 PM   #18
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Does it cook rice as well?
We just use regular microwave cookware for rice. No Fasta Pasta cooker required.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:43 AM   #19
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The added salt and the need to modify the cooking times might be related. Adding salt (or most any soluble solid) raises the boiling point of water. Liquid water won't get hotter than the boiling point (at a given pressure), so by adding salt you increase the temperature of the liquid in which the noodles are cooking. Thus, they'd need to cook for a shorter time at this higher temp.
That may be true. But I did cook the first couple of times without added salt. And it still was overcooked using their times.

Another thing - I don't add much salt (1/2 tsp or so), because there is not that much water. Just enough to taste right. DH cooked the linguine last night and it came out way too salty! Why? Because it added as much as he puts in a regular pot of water for pasta. For some reason he didn't think about how much less water was used.

Fortunately it didn't take long to double the batch with no salt and mix the two. He'd used way too much pesto as well. Didn't believe me when I told him that was more than double what I would use. Even with the double batch of pasta it was still pretty intense.

What can I say - you gotta make these mistakes sometimes to train yourself to do it right! (Although I thought he'd made the salt mistake once already )

Audrey
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:46 AM   #20
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Spicy Udon Noodles
Ron - let us know how your stuff comes out!

Audrey
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