Rice pasta, a type of pasta made with rice flour, is a popular choice amongst people who wish to go for a gluten free diet. The pasta may be of many varieties depending upon the type of rice used, which could be any variety of white or brown rice. Variation of the pasta may also be found in their shapes. The method of cooking rice pasta differs from that of cooking wheat pasta as the former can easily overcook and become mushy. The pasta contains the delicious taste and tenderness of rice grains. Some popular varieties of this pasta are brown rice capellini, white rice spaghetti and brown rice penne pasta. Some versions are also made with two types of rice, such as organic wild rice shells which are made of organic wild rice, organic brown rice and water. Rice pasta is most popular in the form of noodles in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, though it is now also gaining popularity in the West especially due to its gluten free property.
How to Make Rice Pasta
To make rice pasta, rice flour and water are kneaded into dough. Additional ingredients like bean flour, olive oil and corn starch may be included in the dough as per individual recipe. The dough is rolled out with a rolling pin on a hard surface and then cut by means of a pasta cutter. The pasta thus prepared can be used for immediate cooking or dried or frozen for future use.
How to Cook Rice Pasta
For cooking rice pasta, water is heated in a stockpot, and salt and olive oil are added to it. When it begins to boil, rice pasta is added, and stirred immediately, to prevent it from sticking. The pasta is allowed to cook by covering, on low heat, and stirred every 30 seconds. When it is cooked enough to be tender yet firm, it is removed from heat and drained immediately. Letting it stand in the water would cause over-cooking.
Ingredients Used and Method of Preparation of Rice Pasta Dishes
Ingredients: Rice pasta, olive oil or butter, garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, chili sauce, soy sauce and cheese are some of the commonly suggested ingredients by the rice pasta recipe. Green or red chilies, herbs like basil, thyme and oregano and vegetables or meats of one's choice are other ingredients that may be added in.
Method of Preparation: To prepare a rice pasta dish, the rice pasta is first cooked till al dente, after which it is drained. Garlic and onions are sautéed in heated olive oil, after which canned tomatoes with their juices are added in and the sauce is allowed to cook by simmering. When done, seasonings are adjusted, and the sauce is tossed with cooked pasta and optionally grated cheese. A creamy sauce or any other pasta sauce may be prepared for the dish. Many Asian versions make use of soy sauce and chilies in the sauce.
Serving and Eating Rice Pasta
A cooked rice pasta dish can be served hot as a side or main dish, with a garnish of grated cheese and/or basil leaves.
Popular Rice Pasta Recipe Variations
Chinese Style Rice Noodles: This is prepared by sautéing minced garlic in heated oil till tender, and then stirring in cooked rice noodles, and seasonings such as chili sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. The dish is sprinkled with chopped green onion before serving.
Broccoli & Chickpea Brown Rice Pasta: This is made by sautéing onion in heated oil, followed by the addition of garlic. Broccoli florets are then added and cooked till tender yet crisp, after which water and canned chickpeas are added. The contents are allowed to cook for some time and the sauce thus prepared is mixed with cooked rice pasta. It is drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice before serving.
Health and Nutrition Facts
Rice pasta is easier to digest than wheat pasta, and also gluten free. It is a good source of instant energy and vitamin B1. A single half cup serving of brown rice pasta contains about 210 calories, of which 15 calories are from fat. Additional calories are added in with theuse of olive oil and various other ingredients as per individual recipes.