I love pasta. Always have. But now that I am riding my bike over 100 miles a week I not only love it. I sometimes crave it. All that calorie burning has stoked my appetite for pasta. I probably eat pasta at four or five meals a week.
Usually, I make it simply with olive oil and a combination of parmesan and romano cheese that I get from Trader Joes. Simple, but delicious.
Typical Mr. Lazy Cook meal, right? But wait! I recently stumbled across one of those commercials for the Pasta Boat. I must confess here a sensitivity for those clever labor-saving devices often featured on late night TV or one of the home shopping channels. My ex-wife failed to see the wonder of them. She just thought they were junk. One of the reasons we are no longer together.
Anyway, for me to cook pasta, I fill a large pot with water, bring it to a boil, put in a pinch of salt and some oil to keep it from boiling over, add the pasta and set a timer. When the timer rings, I start my al denteing. It would usually take several attempts. All in all, that is pretty simple in terms of culinary artistry.
Now comes the Pasta Boat. The ad says you simply measure out the pasta in one of the boat’s circular handles. One handleful is two servings and two of them serves four. Pour water into the boat, place in microwave, turn on and relax.
I felt the commercial made a good case for simple, fool-proof pasta with a minimum of muss and fuss so I ordered one.
The Pasta Boat comes with a little booklet of recipes for various types of pasta, lasagne, etc as well as directions for steaming vegetables and other dishes.
I washed it out and hastened to make my first batch. It was easy to measure the pasta as they said in the infomercial. I live by myself so I only made two servings the first time. I filled the boat to the level suggested, put the pasta in and put it in the microwave and set the timer.
When it finished, I drained the pasta and sat down for my first meal. It is worth mentioning that draining is a breeze. No more messing around with pots of steaming water and collanders. Simply slide on the lid and tip into the sink. Very convenient.
It turned out great. The pasta came out to exactly the right consistency. I became an instant believer in the Pasta Boat.
A couple of observations are in order. First, their idea of a single serving conflicts with what we have learned from the Portion Plate and other items on portion size. It is at least double a regular serving. So, as we have said time and again here, you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. You might want to reread Visualizing Portion Sizes again.
The upside is that two of their portions are really about four normal portions, so either make less, or in my case, I put the extra pasta in the fridge and eat it at another time after nuking it for 60 seconds.
The second observation had to do with the microwave. When I saw the ad and heard ‘microwave’ I immediately concluded we were talking about 3 or 4 minutes. Wrong, the Pasta Boat takes 16 minutes in the microwave to cook pasta, so there is no time saving involved. On the positive side. You set it and wait for the bell.
Everything else was as advertised. Very simple to clean and you can store the leftover pasta in the Pasta Boat in the fridge if you want.
I haven’t steamed anything yet. Will report on that at a later date.