Of all my posts since January 2008, one post stands out as the most viewed by yes, people around the world: my post on making pasta in the microwave. It’s a post that has been read 24/7. In fact, I’ve just made a random search on google, which puts this site as the first search result to “Make Pasta in the Microwave”.
Microwave pasta has been my favorite comfort food after a long day’s work (never mind the amount of carbs!), and it has given me an opportunity to discover new kinds of sauces.
While the noodles have always been al dente, my challenge was really making the noodles absorb the flavor of the sauce. I realized that by microwaving pasta for 12 or 13 minutes, the pasta loses its ability to absorb sauce, because it has already absorbed the water that cooks it. I heard from chefs that one should drain the noodles 60-90 seconds before they are really cooked (based on the instructions on the noodles’ package). The objective here is to drain the noodles fast, and transfer them to your sauce pan so that the noodles can absorb the sauce.
Knowing this, I tried this out with my usual microwave pasta. I made farfalle with shrimps and smoked scallops. The base of the sauce included tomato paste, cream cheese, and bottled pesto. Instead of boiling the pasta in the microwave for 12-13 minutes, I cooked it only for 11 minutes. I transferred the noodles immediately to the sauce, and allowed it to absorb the sauce for another 2 minutes. I poured some of the water used to boil the noodles with the sauce, to make sure that the entire dish does not dry up.
The result was a tastier dish. What a big difference it made! The noodles really absorbed the flavors of the sauce. And of course, with the sauce and noodles, plus the edam and parmesan cheese just made the dish… perfect!