Thanks to a customer email, I’ve realized pasta is an untested meal type in the Aroma Test Kitchen. Sure, I’ve made dishes with pasta included but I’ve never explored a recipe that’s strictly pasta. So I decided to test different types of boxed pasta. I tested both regular pasta and high-protein pasta with omega-3. The cooking time for each type remained the same. I also tested three noodle types for each of the two pastas: penne, spaghetti and linguine. And I cooked each type a bit less than the recommended length to retain a slight bite in the center, which is referred to as “al dente.” Surprisingly, my family unanimously preferred the high-protein pastas with its denser texture and richer flavor. I was thrilled because extra nutrients are always welcome in my cooking!
So now the how-to part of cooking the pasta… I cooked a box of each pasta type individually, mainly because cooking large amounts of pasta at one time tends to cause problems such as clumping. Fill your Aroma Rice Cooker with cold water up to the “Line 6” marking inside the inner pot and add a pinch of salt. Close the lid and set to “Steam” for 15 minutes (or more depending on how long the pasta needs to cook). When the time indicated on the rice cooker during steaming is 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time on the box, open the lid, pour in the pasta and give it a good stir before closing the lid again. When the rice cooker beeps, remove one piece of cooked pasta to make sure it is to your liking. If you like a softer texture, leave it in for an extra minute or so, just remember that pasta continues to cook after it’s removed from the water. Strain your pasta and serve with your favorite sauce.
If you like meat sauce, below is my recipe. And yes, I made it in the rice cooker prior to boiling pasta and kept it warm in a bowl covered with foil while the pasta cooked.
1 lb of ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp of tomato paste
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp each of dried oregano, basil and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil to the inner pot of the Aroma Rice Cooker and brown the onion and garlic using the Sauté-Then-Simmer™ (STS™) setting. Add the ground beef and brown while breaking the beef into small crumbles.
Add the spices and the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes to bring out the flavors. Add the crushed tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper and close the lid for 1 hour.
During this time, you can add other seasonings or liquids if you want.
After an hour, open the lid to taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed. You can add some water or cream if you prefer a softer texture. Place in a dish and cover while you cook your pasta.
Over to You
What’s your version of a hearty meat sauce? Share and inspire us!