Friday, August 2, 2013

how to cook gluten-free pasta in 7 easy steps

how to cook gluten free pasta

Today we're going to have a little chat about boiling gluten-free pasta successfully. It's not easy! My first attempts ended in a lump of mushy unidentifiable starch that could have been used as paper mache glue. But lately my family and I have started eating more and more gluten-free foods, and pasta is something my dear husband will never ever go without (cue Hannibal Lecter craziness at the suggestion...ffffffava beans!) and to be honest, I've been making a lot of mac'n'cheese for little girl's lunches. So needless to say I've gotten fairly good at making gluten free pasta. Without further ado...




1. Use a BIG pot! Gluten-free pasta wants to become sticky and glue-like. It yearns to clump together into a starchy mass. It's mostly held together by prayer and good wishes, so when you boil it in a small pot you're just asking for it to clump together.

how to cook gluten free pasta

2. Liberally salt the water. Gluten-free pasta can sometimes be a little...bland. Salt really helps bring out the flavor of the noodles.

3. Bring it to a rolling boil! I know I know, every box of gluten-free pasta says you can "let it sit in hot water" and it will cook successfully. It won't. It's pasta. Boil it.

4. Stir often. Like, stand over the pot and don't let go of your spoon, or your pasta will stick to each other and the bottom.

5. Check pasta often for firmness. With gluten-free pasta there is a fine line between "perfectly firm" and "paper mache glue." The time on the back of the box is not always the best guideline either. I've found that if I taste test every minute or two (after the first five minutes of boiling), I'm much more likely catch the pasta at optimum done-ness. Along these lines, pay close attention to the difference in color of the pasta from the ends of the noodle to the middle. If the ends still look a little lighter then the middle, it's not done. If it's all the same color, it's perfect.

how to cook gluten free pasta

6. Let your pasta cool a bit before you use it. Gluten-free approximations of wheat based products need time to congeal and firm up after being cooked. If you give it about 5 minutes to "jell" it will hold up a lot better when you mix in the sauce.

how to cook gluten free pasta

7. Toss lightly with olive oil. Sometimes even after you cook it to perfection, the innate yearning of gluten-free pasta to become a starchy mass will take over and it will clump together in the strainer. Tossing a little olive oil in there keeps them nice and slippery and keeps the noodles separate, their natural starchy urges under control.

how to cook gluten free pasta

So hopefully, if you followed all these tips, you will have some soft (but not too soft) delicious gluten-free pasta! I've found that once I learned to cook it correctly, I don't even miss wheat pasta at all! You really can't tell the difference, but the secret is in making sure it's cooked exactly right.

And once you have your gluten-free pasta cooked to perfection, you can do so much more with it then simply make spaghetti with marinara! You could make delicious meals like the ones below (Click on the pictures to see the original posts):

how to cook gluten free pasta

and if you're watching your waistline, this one:

how to cook gluten free pasta

And coming up soon we'll have the recipe for this one:

how to cook gluten free pasta

And if you're looking for more gluten-free meal ideas, you can check out our gluten-free cooking page. Enjoy!

~Jessica

14 comments:

  1. Hi Jessica, I'm gf since 2004. Now I'm mostly grain free, but your tutorial is great! Pinned to my gf board. I have some gf recipe's at my blog. Stop over

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the pin! And gluten-free recipes are always appreciated!

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  2. Thanks for the tips! I had given up on gluten free pasta but I am going to give it another shot.

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    Replies
    1. Noo!! Don't give up! :) It is definitely tough to cook, but worth it when done right!

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  3. This would have been prime advice about 4 hours ago. But instead, I'll eat my wheatless pasta mush and fix my mistakes next time. Thanks for the tips!

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    Replies
    1. Eek! When done well, its great. When cooked too much, it definitely becomes mush. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I was considering gluten free pasta, and now that I have read your primer I am good to go.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. It is definitely worth it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Our daughter was just tested for ceilac and I am so thankful it was negative! I had a doctor who refused to test me so I had to cut out all gluten for a year to see how it went. It didn't help overly much. It was not a fun year!!! (I did eventually get tested and was negative).

    (BTW - I nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogger Award! Check it out at - http://stitchednsown.blogspot.com/2013/08/super-sweet-blog-award.html)

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  6. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. I am new to being gluten free and still learning so much, so this is really helpful! I'll be checking out those recipes too! :)

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  7. Great tip, thanks for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  8. Your recipe is awesome and thank you so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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    ReplyDelete

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