This microwave pesto pasta with peppers is the perfect college meal. It’s cheap, quick and requires pretty much no cooking experience! It’s made (almost) from scratch in the microwave. If you like then you can make your own pesto, but I must admit that I’m a little too lazy for that most of the time.
Cooking pasta in the microwave is actually really easy:
- fill a large microwave-safe bowl with water, leaving a minimum of an inch at the top empty.
- add salt (it should taste as salty as the sea!) and add your pasta.
- put the bowl in the microwave and zap it for 3 minutes. Your pasta won’t be cooked yet, but it’s good to check on it.
- continue microwaving it for 3 minute (or shorter) intervals until your pasta is cooked
- drain your pasta as per usual (making sure to reserve some cooking water!)
- you’re done!
This way, you aren’t waiting for the water to boil before you add your pasta. It still took a good 12-15 minutes for most different pasta shapes to cook in our microwave (a 700 watt microwave – if yours is higher then your pasta should cook at least a little faster). This is still quicker than using a traditional saucepan though – plus you don’t have to worry quite so much about it boiling over!
Once you’ve cooked your pasta, you can ignore it for a couple of minutes while you cook your garlic and onion in olive oil. Then you add your peppers and cook them a little as well. Re-add your drained pasta with a little pasta water and plenty of pesto (plus some salt and pepper) and microwave for one more minute just to check it’s all nice and hot and then you’re ready to dig into a nice big bowl of pesto pasta with peppers.
In fact, the resultant bowl of pasta is massive. What can I say, I was feeling both generous and hungry. If you aren’t quite so hungry then you can always save leftovers in the fridge and reheat them the next day.
While this dish is a full meal, I do appreciate that a lot of people would like extra elements. If you’d like to add a few other ingredients then I do have some suggestions:
- cooked diced chicken (add it with the peppers)
- baby spinach (add at the end with the pesto and pasta water)
- halved black olives(add at the end with the pesto and pasta water)
- tomatoes (add at the end with the pesto and pasta water)
Use different colours of bell pepper or red pesto instead of green to change it up- this is just a base pesto pasta recipe to inspire you, so feel free to adapt it to suit your tastes!
Microwave Pesto Pasta with Peppers
- 100 grams short pasta such as penne, bows or fusilli
- 1/2 small red onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 tbsp pesto
- salt and pepper to season
- Add the pasta to a large microwave-safe bowl and fill to 1" from the top with water. Add salt until the water is as salty as the sea.
- Microwave for 3 minutes, repeating until the pasta is cooked to taste. It should take 12-15 minutes total. Once cooked, drain the pasta (reserving the pasta water) and set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the garlic, onion and olive oil. Stir to coat and microwave for 2 minutes or until lightly softened.
- Add the diced pepper and microwave for a further 2 minutes until slightly soft.
- Add the cooked pasta, 2 tbsp of cooking water and pesto and microwave for a minute until it's all fully heated through. Serve immediately.
If you’re looking for more single-serving pasta recipes then try these:
If you’re looking for more microwave recipes then try these: