How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta: Essential Tips!

 

How to Make perfect gluten free pasta spaghetti waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

Before we went gluten free four years ago, my children’s favorite meal was pasta and so I knew that I had to learn to make good gluten free pasta.  My first attempts at making gluten free pasta were really awful!  The pasta was mushy–even “goopy”.  I had to throw many batches down the drain.  As I continued making GF pasta, my results were so inconsistent.   One day the pasta would have wonderful texture and flavor and the next time I tried, it was mushy.  It was frustrating!

Four years later, I think I’ve finally figured out how to make perfect gluten free pasta.  The biggest hurdle to get over is that you can’t cook gluten free pasta just like you cook wheat pasta.  There are important differences that make the world of difference.  I’ll share a few very important tips:

How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta tinkyada waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta Schar waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

TIP #1:  Start with a GREAT dry pasta

I know it sounds so silly to mention but from experience, the brand of gluten free pasta you use makes a huge difference.  From what we have available here in Hawaii (which I’m sure is limited), my favorite brand of brown rice pasta is Tinkyada and my favorite brand of white rice pasta is Schar.  When I first started cooking gluten free pasta, I would try all of the blended grain pastas out there.  Many of them had a strong flavor that my kids didn’t like and others were just mushy–not matter how well I cooked them.  If I’m making a dish where pasta is the “star”, I always use my preferred brands–no matter what. 

How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta salt waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

TIP #2:  LOTS of water and LOTS of salt

Gluten free pasta releases a lot more starch than wheat pasta and so it’s essential to use a lot of water.  I use a full pot of boiling water (at least 6 quarts) for one package of pasta.  I add at least 1/3 cup of kosher salt to the water.  It might sound like a lot, but you don’t have to worry about the pasta being too salty because it will be rinsed.  (more about that next)  The salt makes such a wonderful difference in the taste of the pasta.

How to make perfect gluten free pasta cooking waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

TIP #3:  DO NOT OVERCOOK!

This is probably the most important tip to emphasize.  While you can sometimes get by with slightly overcooking wheat pasta, there is no getting by with overcooking gluten free pasta.  As a rule, I look at the package directions and set the timer for at least 2 or 3 minutes less.  When the timer goes off, I start hovering over the pot–stirring and tasting until the pasta is not chewy and hard, but has turned just firm–to an al dente texture.  To me, tasting is the only way to ensure that you have cooked your gluten free pasta perfectly. 

How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta rinse waldorfmoms.com Follow Me on Pinterest

TIP #4:  Rinse with cool water

This is the biggest difference between making gluten free vs. wheat pasta.  You HAVE TO THOROUGHLY RINSE the pasta IMMEDIATELY AFTER it’s done cooking–even if you are going to immediately throw it into some sort of sauce.  Rinsing gets off all of that excess starch and somehow tightens the pasta into a wonderful al dente texture.  After you rinse, drain WELL and then throw it into your sauce.

How to Make Perfect Gluten Free Pasta sauce waldorfmoms Follow Me on Pinterest

I guess the true test of gluten free pasta is to give it to NON gluten free eaters and see how they like it.  My daughter recently had her friend over for dinner and besides being a bit of a picky eater, her friend’s favorite meal is spaghetti.  We all watched in wonder as she ate three servings of our gluten free pasta!  Another test was when my son’s class was making soup and I made gluten free pasta to add in.  The class ate every bit of the pasta and thought that it was the best part of the soup!

So I hope that these tips help others who are getting started on the gluten free journey and hopefully will help avoid the many mistakes that I made.  Honestly…gluten free pasta really CAN be delicious!

 

Linking to:  Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Katherine’s Corner, Friendship Friday

 

 

Katherine’s Corner


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Comments

  1. good tips my friend!! Thank you for sharing at the hop, your participation makes the hop extra special. Big Hugs P.S. the new giveaway posted today!
    Katherines Corner recently posted..April Showers GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Finally linking up with my Friday Flash Blog community. Thanks for linking up and sharing in the fun! Have a terrific week and see you on Friday.

    Jennifer
    http://www.TheJennyEvolution.com
    Jennifer recently posted..Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness MonthMy Profile

  3. Hi Lori – love the blog! And thank you, I now know what I’m doing wrong – I need to rinse the pasta after draining. I love those moments when my kids friends help themselves to seconds and thirds – just like you that’s how I know I’ve hit a home run :) Can’t wait to read more!

    • Hi Carlyn,

      It took me a very long time to learn to cook gluten free pasta well and I’m thrilled that you will be able to see what a difference rinsing makes.

      Thanks so much for visiting and I look forward to trading GF tips with you!

      Aloha,
      Lori

  4. Thanks Lori! We are starting a gluten free experiment in a couple weeks and my girls do love their pasta!
    Kelly recently posted..Circle Time in the Waldorf-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool (Part One)My Profile

    • Hi Kelly,
      I really have loved reading about your homeschool experience and I’m so glad that you’ll give GF pasta a try. I promise…when cooked right, your children will not notice any difference! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for visiting and aloha, Lori

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