Pasta, Noodles & Dumplings

I could eat pasta every day, at every single meal. That is, if it hadn’t been demonized by the low-carb police!

Simple to prepare and deliciously adaptable to any number of preparations, I believe that pasta and noodles are among the best inventions ever.

Despite the fact that pasta is viewed as a go-to recipe for beginner cooks, it’s amazing how frequently it is poorly prepared. Here’s the key to getting perfect pasta every time:

COOKING METHOD FOR PASTA:

  • Use at least 4 qts of well-salted boiling water per 1 lb. of pasta – ratio of 8:1
  • Drop in pasta – stir to separate
  • Cook until it is “al dente” – firm to the tooth but not crunchy and definitely not mushy
  • Drain
  • Note: if you’re going to serve your pasta in a sauce, undercook it slightly and finish cooking it in the sauce so that it can absorb the sauce without getting mushy

While pasta is the most common noodle used in the US, there are so many other varieties to consider.

VARIETIES

Commercial dried pasta/Macaroni

  • Best ones are made from semolina

Fresh egg pasta

  • Made with all-purpose flour, eggs and oil/water

Chinese noodles

  • Made from flour and water; if egg is added, they are egg noodles
  • Cantonese noodles – made by stretching a piece of dough until it is as thin as spaghetti

Japanese noodles

  • Udon – thick, white noodles made from wheat flour
  • Somen – thin, white wheat noodles
  • Tamago somen – made with egg
  • Soba – thin noodles made with buckwheat and wheat flour
  • Chasoba – made with buckwheat and powdered green tea
  • Chukasoba – wheat noodles made with flour, water and sodium carbonate; yellow but contain no egg; used for ramen

Rice noodles

  • Prepared differently, rice noodles are covered with hot water and soaked until tender
  • Rice vermicelli are deep-fried

Bean thread noodles

  • Made with mung bean starch and prepared like rice noodles

Couscous

  • Granular pasta made from semolina flour
  • Cooked by soaking and steaming

Dumplings, Spaetzle, Gnocchi

  • Starch products made from soft dough or batters and cooked by simmering or steaming

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