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I was given a pasta express magic pasta cooker as a novelty gift last christmas. It wasn't something I'd ever seen before or would have bought for myself, but as a gift it was certainly different.
The product is very simple and basic. It's a long, clear cylinder, which is open at one end. Contained in the box is also a yellow plastic lid, which comes in two parts that slot together - the first is larger and has wholes in (this is the strainer) and the other is a solid flat circle, which screw into the strainer and closes the holes. There is also a 'neoprene heat grip pad'. This is a blue heat proof pad that can be placed around the tube and fastened using the velcro seal.
How it works
The pasta/spaghetti is placed into the plastic cylinder and boiling water poured over to ensure that the pasta is fully covered. I usually add a little salt at this point too, for flavouring. The yellow lids are placed on top to seal and the heat proof pad placed around the tube. This is simply left for 10-15 minutes and then the top part of the lid is removed and the water can be poured out the top of the tub via the strainer (this stops the pasta falling out). The pasta is then cooked and is ready to serve.
This is a really simple idea and does make cooking spaghetti alot easier for me. I find cooking spaghetti in a pan a bit of a chore as you either have to snap it into pieces (and make a mess) or wait until part is cooked and then force the end bit into the pan. I also find that the water is hard to control and either boils over (annoying) or goes off the boil. This way, I can put my spaghetti in and leave it safe in the knowledge that it'll cook with no problems. However, I find that this is not so good for cooking pasta - it tends to clump and stick together and is pretty hard to strain all the water from it.At first, I struggled a but with the lid on this. On a couple of occasions, I didn't fasten the strainer tightly enough to the tube. When trying to pour the hot water out, this fell off and a lot of my spaghetti followed it into the sink. Once you have mastered this though, and are confident, it's really easy to strain all the water from the spaghetti. The heat proof pad is really good, as you can easily grip this to prevent burning yourself when straining the pasta.
Once you have used this contraption a few times, you can master the cooking times and ensure that you have well cooked pasta - I found for the first few times I stuck to the cooking times given on the box and ended up with slightly harder spaghetti than I would like. However, with use you learn to leave as long as you need to cook to your taste.
In summary, this is an easy way to cook spaghetti and takes the hassle out of it, really simple to use.