A rice cooker is an electrical appliance that brings water and rice to a boil, then maintains constant temperature and pressure for the rice to cook.
You can use this appliance to cook other ingredients besides rice, like pasta, because the cooking process is similar.
Let’s look at how to do this.
- Steps to Cook Pasta in A Rice Cooker
- Tips to Make Pasta Perfectly in A Rice Cooker
Steps to Cook Pasta in A Rice Cooker
There are slight differences in the way you cook rice and pasta in a rice cooker. This is because of their difference in structure and characteristics.
Here are the steps to follow to cook pasta in a rice cooker.
1. Add Water to The Cooking Pot
When cooking pasta in a rice cooker, you can use the same pasta-to-water ratio for stovetop cooking.
This measurement differs from that of rice. It’s because the rice-to-water ratio is set in such a way that the rice grains absorb all the water.
However, you will need extra water to cook the pasta properly. The excess water that remains after cooking the pasta can be drained.
Add enough water to submerge the pasta and an extra inch. This will ensure there is enough water for the pasta to cook.
However, when adding water to the cooking pot, don’t fill more than 2/3rd of the pot. It may overflow.
It’s better to cook the pasta in two batches if you must add more water for it to cook.
2. Season the Water
Season the pasta with a pinch of salt before beginning the cooking process.
This simple step will save you from the trouble of seasoning the pasta after it has cooked.
It will also ensure that the entire pasta is evenly seasoned and there are no salty or unsalted bits.
After adding enough salt to the water, shut the lid of the rice cooker and start cooking.
3. Add Pasta After the Water Boils
Wait for the water to boil before adding the pasta. Check the instructions on the package to ensure that you cook the pasta just right.
For most varieties of pasta, it’s recommended to cook till the pasta is al-dente. Overcooking can make it less tasty.
It will usually take six to twelve minutes for the pasta to cook perfectly. However, the time may differ according to the variety of pasta.
4. Drain the Excess Water
When cooking pasta in a rice cooker, you don’t have to wait till the cooker shuts down.
The pasta will become overcooked otherwise. Instead, check on the pasta and manually turn off the rice cooker when it’s al dente.
This is the point when the pasta is cooked, but it’s still firm. It will neither be soggy nor too soft.
At this stage, take the inner pot out and drain the remaining water. You can save the pasta water to add to the sauce later if you wish.
It’s a good idea to toss the pasta with a little oil to prevent sticking after draining the pasta water. You can then use it in any recipe as you wish.
5. Make the Sauce in The Rice Cooker
You can prepare the pasta sauce in a rice cooker if it has a Sauté function.
The Sauté function will allow you to make a white sauce by melting butter, preparing the roux, and adding milk to it.
For tomato-based sauces, you can steam ingredients like tomatoes for the sauce base in the rice cooker.
When using a readymade sauce for pasta, you can use the rice cooker to warm it.
After heating the readymade sauce, pour it over the pasta. You can also use the leftover pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
Tips to Make Pasta Perfectly in A Rice Cooker
1. Use the Right Amount of Water
For pasta to cook properly, you should add the right amount of water.
It should be just enough to submerge the pasta and prevent it from becoming too dry.
Meanwhile, it should not overflow and make the rice cooker a mess.
For best results, add enough water to submerge the pasta and an additional inch of water.
2. Stir Occasionally
When using the rice cooker, you do not typically have to supervise the cooking process. It will manage the entire task on its own.
However, this is not the case with pasta.
You should constantly monitor the pasta and stop cooking at the right time.
Occasionally open the lid and stir the pasta to stop cooking as soon as it’s just al dente.
Stirring the pasta will prevent it from becoming sticky. It will also help to ensure that the seasoning is uniformly distributed.
3. Adjust the Cooking Time
When cooking pasta in a rice cooker, you can’t rely on the cooker to shut down when the pasta is done perfectly.
The cooker will only switch off when all the water evaporates. By then, the pasta will be overcooked.
So you should check the package instructions for a rough idea of how long it will take the pasta to cook.
You can adjust the cooking time accordingly.
The cooking time will also differ for different types of pasta. So you must adjust for it accordingly.
4. Adjust the Water if Needed
If the pasta turns out dry or isn’t cooked properly after the first cycle, add a little more water and run the cooker again.
This will help the pasta absorb more moisture.
5. Choose the Right Type of Pasta
You can cook all varieties of pasta in a rice cooker. Nevertheless, some varieties are better suited for rice cookers.
We suggest using small pasta varieties like penne, fusilli, and macaroni for best results.
These varieties will cook evenly without clumping. They also absorb water and sauce well.
Longer pasta varieties like spaghetti and linguine are more difficult to cook because of their size.
You may have to break them up to cook them properly.
6. Add Ingredients Like Meat and Vegetables at The End of The Cooking Cycle
The easy way to make pasta more nutritious is to cook it with vegetables and meat.
However, it’s important to add these ingredients at the right time.
Add vegetables and meat toward the end of the cooking cycle to prevent them from overcooking.
You should also chop them in the right size to ensure they cook thoroughly and don’t remain raw.
If you are using a variety of ingredients, add them in at the appropriate time of cooking to adjust their cooking time.
Ingredients like meat take longer to cook. So you can add them before adding vegetables like corn or peas that cook quickly.
The alternative option is to cook the additional ingredients separately and mix with the pasta before adding the sauce.
Once the pasta is done, drain the water and add the sauce of your liking to flavor the entire dish.