3. Fusilli Bolognese

It would so be spaghetti, except I don’t like to break noodles, and there’s no way spaghetti can be cooked unbroken in the microwave! Well, BBC Food says it can here, which I referred to for cooking time, although as you will see, I make my own sauce, thank you very much (I am forever trying to capture my mama’s flavors).

Cloves of half a garlic, chopped finely
Half an onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, diced
Small punnet of mushrooms, sliced thinly
250g ground beef (also known as beef mince)
1 can diced tomato
50ml just-boiled water
1 beef broth cube
Dried oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
125g uncooked fusilli, cooked in 500ml just-boiled water as per previous recipe

1. In a 4-cup microwave-safe bowl, mix together garlic, onions, carrots and beef with a fork until combined well.
2. Cover bowl, but leave vented, and zap for three minutes. Mix with the fork to break up the beef. Zap for another three minutes.
3. Break up meat with a fork, then add in tomatoes with water, crumbled beef broth cube, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover (leave a little opening to vent steam!) and zap for seven minutes.
4. Stir sauce, add mushrooms, and cover and zap for five minutes. Stir then zap another five minutes.
5. Remove bowl from microwave and let stand while you zap the noodles.
6. To serve, gently mix half of the sauce into cooked pasta.

Note: This batch of sauce is good for 250g uncooked fusilli, so you will keep half of it in the fridge (after it has cooled to room temperature). Second-day sauce is so much yummier than the first!

2. Pesto Fusilli with Ham and Spinach

125g uncooked fusilli
500ml just-boiled water
60g basil pesto
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
100g ham, thinly sliced then cut into strips
200g baby spinach
Balsamic vinaigrette to taste

1. Place salt, pasta and water in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Zap uncovered for seven minutes (it shouldn’t boil over, but if you’re worried, put a microwave-safe plate under the bowl). Drain.
2. In a small bowl, drizzle chopped garlic with olive oil. Zap for one minute.
3. In a large bowl, mix pesto, garlic and pasta until the fusilli is coated well. Set aside.
4. Place one kitchen towel sheet on a plate; evenly place ham strips. Cover with another kitchen towel sheet and zap for two minutes. Mix crisped ham into pasta.
5. To serve, gently toss baby spinach with balsamic vinaigrett, then toss with pasta.

1. Quinoa Salad

250ml uncooked quinoa
500ml just-boiled water
100g olives, pitted and sliced
100g semi-dried tomatoes 
200g baby spinach
Olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar dressing, to taste

1. Place quinoa and water in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Zap for nine minutes (yes, zap. It’ll come out perfect). Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork (I don’t know why, but the recipe writers always add this bit, so here it is).
2. Mix olives, tomatoes and some dressing into the quinoa. Cool to room temperature or chill in fridge till ready to serve.
3. To serve, gently toss with spinach leaves in a large bowl (gently, or else you’ll have quinoa flying all over everywhere). Drizzle more dressing as desired.