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Cooking Pasta And Rice Noodles

Cooking Pasta And Rice Noodles

Handy tips for getting that true "al dente" result.


Any packet Pasta or Noodles



  1. All packets of pasta have cooking instructions on them and these should be checked before you start cooking. The most usual method is to cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water before tossing it in a little olive oil or butter prior to serving or preparing any further.
  2. Bring a very large saucepan of well salted water to the boil. Pasta cooked without salt is tasteless. Add about 1 tablespoon salt to every four litres or 16 cups of water. It is best to cook pasta in a large stock pot as it swells during cooking and the large amount of boiling water ensures the pasta does not stick together when cooking. There is no need to add oil to the water when cooking as it only rises to the top and does not prevent the pasta from sticking. Not having enough water will cause the pasta to stick together more than anything else.
  3. Add the pasta slowly to prevent the water from going off the boil and stir until the water is back on the boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente or "firm to the bite". Dried pastas take from 4-5 minutes for thin vermicelli to over 12 minutes for thick shell shapes. Check the cooking time on the back of the packet. Fresh pasta will cook in about 3 minutes if is very fresh. Again check the instructions if you have bought fresh pasta.

Udon and Rice Noodles

  1. Udon noodles, those delicious chewy wheat noodles from Japan are pre-cooked and require only reheating.
  2. Dried Rice Noodles come in different thicknesses, from fettucini width to through to vermicelli thinness. They require only a short cooking time, about 2-3 minutes in boiling water or stock. Just use you judgement and test them to make sure they have softened. Do not overcook or they will become soft and mushy.

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