mathsnerd: (coffee addict)
[personal profile] mathsnerd posting in [community profile] boilingwater
Hello all!

I'm hoping to pick to your collective brains in the hopes that someone has the answer to this question. I have recently acquired a 20L microwave/grill/convection oven and am now facing the cold hard truth that I don't know how to use it other than re-heating things. (Oops.)

The weather here in Germany is getting colder, and I am craving PASTA! Hence, my question to you all: how can I cook pasta in a microwave? What kind of dishes/equipment do I need to purchase? (I have, quite literally, nothing.) Are some sorts of pasta going to be harder than others? I do own an electric hot water cooker, so I can boil water ahead of time, if that helps.

In other important information, I share a tiny room, have next to no storage space, have almost no prep space, have a sink, share a tiny under-the-counter-fridge, do NOT have a freezer, have two hot plates but do not use them (hence the microwave/oven) due to fear of burns, do not currently have any storage containers but can get some when I get cooking dishes/equipment if it's recommended.

I am disabled, hence the not cooking on hot plates, use crutches and hand/arm braces, and have reduced motor skills in my hands/arms/legs. Spoons vary wildly by day and time of day.

I need to eat more and eat warm food. I turn to you in hopes of being able to start having pasta. If I can cook pasta, I can make a batch and refrigerate it, and then re-heat it and make sauces or dress it as my stomach permits (I have weird food things due to a chronic illness) and a lot of things would be better. At least one of my closer friends and her mother would stop bitching (they bought the microwave).

I thank you all in advance and look forward to being able to have pasta! X-posted to [community profile] cookability

Date: 2010-09-09 05:03 pm (UTC)
sibyllevance: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sibyllevance
I found something here which looks sensible (if a little long): http://www.microwavecookingforone.com/MoreRecipes/PastaPastaPasta.html

I'm craving pasta as well so excellent idea :)

Date: 2010-09-09 05:15 pm (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
Do stores near you carry fresh or frozen ravioli? The bags I buy in the USA have microwave steaming directions on them, but I don't know if they're available in Germany (stuff I really take for granted in the USA is frequently unavailable in other countries, and vice versa, so I hate to make assumptions that you have access to these.). If you can get your hands on fresh or frozen raviolis (and probably tortellinis, too) I can get you preparation directions from my bags.

I've seen this advertised on tv but don't know if it actually works: http://www.fastapastacooker.com/ (warning: sound plays automatically when the site loads. UGH.)

Here's a discussion on cooking pasta (which recommends couscous, which you might enjoy as well) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/455575

One thing that's pretty good and fast, if you have leftover pasta (or rice) and broth is to combine the two. Throw the starch into the broth and you have a quick soup that's more filling than broth alone. If you have leftover chicken and/or suitable veg that can go in as well.

Date: 2010-09-09 05:44 pm (UTC)
stealth_noodle: Minish Cap Link thoughtfully examining a map. (interested)
From: [personal profile] stealth_noodle
I've cooked noodles this way before, with success. This guide is pretty thorough and covers rice, too (which I didn't realize could be prepared this way): http://slowfoodfast.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/microwave-tricks-pasta-you-dont-have-to-babysit/

You'll probably want pyrex or ceramic bowls for microwaving the pasta (putting plastic/tupperware in the microwave for long enough to cook the pasta can do weird things to the container). If you can find a microwave-safe bowl with small holes in the lid (like this), you can drain your pasta without needing to invest in a colander.

Date: 2010-09-09 05:56 pm (UTC)
jld: (sunburn)
From: [personal profile] jld
I have actually done this. It was years ago, so I've forgotten the details — but, basically, with all the meticulousness of an undergrad doing something probably stupid, I took a plastic container that turned out not to be meltable in this way, put in water and pasta in arbitrary quantities that more or less fit, microwaved it for what seemed like a reasonable amount of time (this might take eyeballing to see when it starts boiling, plus trial and error), and... I think I drained it with the help of the container's lid, but an actual strainer/colander would probably both work better and be less demanding in terms of motor skills.

I think the moral of my story is that microwaving pasta is reasonably forgiving.

Date: 2010-09-09 09:00 pm (UTC)
zarhooie: Girl on a blueberry bramble looking happy. Text: Kat (Default)
From: [personal profile] zarhooie
Can you eat oatmeal? Oatmeal is cheap, tasty, easy to dress up or down with the addition of sauces, and totally works in the microwave. I am just saying.

Date: 2010-09-09 09:39 pm (UTC)
sid: (cooking Whisk)
From: [personal profile] sid
I've made pasta in the microwave quite recently, but I don't think my experiences would be helpful, since the microwave I've been using is very large and old and low-powered.

On the subject of storing cooked pasta in the fridge, however, I'd like to recommend ziploc bags! They're flexible to fit into whatever space is available and take up less and less space as you use up their contents. I usually toss my cooked, drained pasta with a little olive oil and let it come down closer to room temperature before bagging it.

Good luck!

Date: 2010-09-09 11:23 pm (UTC)
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kathmandu
I don't have any experience with a device like that, but did your microwave/grill/oven come with a manual? Those often have sample recipes or basic cooking instructions, which would help give you some idea of what could be done with it. You don't have to read the whole manual, just check the table of contents. Look for a heading like "cooking times by item".

Date: 2010-09-10 12:39 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
I have never done the initial cooking of pasta in the microwave myself, but once it is cooked, I definitely recommend tossing it in a bit of olive oil before you refrigerate it. (Not butter! Butter is awesome on pasta and is my favourite topping, but will not prevent the pasta from becoming an immovable glob in the fridge, which is what the olive oil is for. Add butter on whatever quantity you're eating once it's hot. :D)

If your stomach will take it and if the stores in your area offer them, those microwave-steam bags of vegetables are fantastic--they let you jazz up pasta and add nutrients. Here in the US, I've seen them refrigerated rather than frozen--butternut squash in butter and cinnamon, green beans with garlic, broccoli with lemon, etc. They're not significantly pricier than buying the same vegetables raw and having to do the prep yourself (maybe 10% higher cost?), but again, that's here.

Date: 2010-09-10 04:08 am (UTC)
momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)
From: [personal profile] momijizukamori
I actually do this a lot, because it's just me in the house and unless I'm making tons for leftovers for lunch it's way too much energy for me to keep checking stuff on the stove. Also kind of time consuming.

I don't have really exact measurements because I kind of eyeball this, but usually I fill a decent-sized container (as others have said Pyrex is best, but I /have/ done it in good quality microwave-safe tupperware containers many times with no problem, and they are much lighter). Basically, I take one of these, fill it maybe about half way with water, dump in some pasta - I'd say a cup-ish of dry pasta? but like I said, eyeballing, and then just nuke it on regular power for eight minutes or so. If it's still a little too chewy, I do another three minutes after that, but I like my pasta kind of firm so eight is usually fine. Generally I err on the side of too much water, and just drain the excess, either via colander, or by holding the container lid on loosely so there's a teeny gap for the water to drain out.

It may take you a try or two to get the amount of pasta and the cooking time right, but it's luckily fairly simple. It's only about a minute or two of cooking to reheat it, though I generally sauce it right away and then refrigerate it with the sauce, as I find that gives me less little chewy edges after reheating.

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