How to Cook the Perfect Gluten Free Pasta
When I first found out the news that our family needs to switch to gluten free pasta because of my sons’ wheat allergy, my entire world was shaken. Pre food allergy, being a Frugalista Mom , I never paid more than $1.00 for a 16 oz. box of pasta. Since I have no other choice, I took the plunge, waited for a sale and started buying.
After trying numerous brands and types (corn, quinoa, rice etc.), I realized that the gluten free versions aren’t really bad at all. Sometimes one can’t really tell the difference in a dish. In fact, my kids liked the texture and taste of GF better than the whole wheat version. Yes, all my children have eaten the later pre diagnosis. The most critical thing I learned about Gluten Free pasta is the preparation. Unlike its wheat counterpart, GF pasta tends to become really soft and soggy within a few minutes of cooking. Spaghetti varieties in fact, can easily break apart and turn into a huge mess. It can turn into a sort of couscous in a matter of seconds.
Having cooked GF pasta every week for more than
8 months 4 years now, I have gone through times of frustration and even crying over the messy goop and the idea of throwing precious expensive food that nobody wants to eat. Can you relate? Anyway, after much trial and error, whatever brand I used, (I now stock up if I find GF pasta on sale.), I was able to find a way to properly cook my Gluten Free Pasta. The best part is that I am more than happy to share it with you.
Without further introduction, here’s my foul proof way to cook gluten free pasta at home. Take note, keep the original packaging of the pasta you are using. The number of cooking minutes the manufacturer suggests is very important. The longer the suggested time, the longer the soaking time.
1. Bring a large stock of water to a rolling boil.
2. Once the water is boiling, remove the lid and add 2 Tbs. salt.
3. Add your gluten free pasta. Mix well to make sure the noodles don’t stick. I usually use a wooden spoon to do this because I find it less harsh to the delicate pasta.
4. Cook the pasta in hot water for 2 minutes. (The water is no longer boiling after you add the pasta.) Turn off heat.
5. Mix to make sure the noodles are not sticking to each other.
6. Cover the pot with the lid.
7. Let the pasta noodles soak in the hot cooking water for 6 minutes. Then check for your desired texture. Usually, it’s 5-6 minutes for al dente.
8. After the soaking time, drain the pasta and rinse in cold running water until the pasta is at room temperature. Mix a few times to make sure the pasta evenly cools.
9. Drain again and transfer to a serving bowl.
10. Pour your preferred heated sauce over the pasta and mix.
Here are some notes.
* If you are going to make a casserole and will put the cooked pasta in the oven, instead of soaking, remove the pasta from the boiling water after 3 minutes and immediately use it for your baked recipe.
* Hot boiling sauce and too much sauce can make your pasta softer. Serve immediately once the sauce is added. You can also put the sauce on the side and just pour it on top of the pasta when ready to serve.
I hope this post helps you the next time you cook your GF pasta. If you have any questions or suggestions, please I would love to hear from you.