“Rice pasta? Whut in tarnation…”
I honestly don’t think my readers are a bunch of dopes who have no idea what’s going on in the foodie food world, but I have this little, old, grumpy, country man in my head that pops up every time I do something slightly different from the norm. Rice pasta, for example. Most pasta is made from wheat, be it white flour or whole wheat flour. So, sometimes when I cook with rice pasta I can picture the old country man mumble things under his breath, usually starting with either, “Whut the…” or “In my day…” or “…aggervatin’ youngin’…”
I know, I’m crazy. Let’s forget about the grumpy Southerner. Let’s talk about that rice pasta. Pasta can be made with lottttttts of different ingredients: semolina, spelt, corn, rice, quinoa, etc., etc. What you buy and cook all depends on your tastes and/or allergies. I love whole wheat pasta because of its rich nutrition, but, even after eating it for years and years, I still sometimes find it too heavy. Rice pasta, if cooked properly, seems a little lighter and less robust than the in-your-face, almost standoffishness of whole wheat. And it’s wonderful with any sauce you’d like. I could drink quarts and quarts of cream sauce by itself. Nine times out of ten, I will choose a cream-based sauce. I’m a calorie-lover like that.
rice pasta with lemon cream sauce
yield: 2 servings prep time: 10 minutes cook time: 15 minutes
4 oz rice pasta (spaghetti or your choice)
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 oz frozen peas
3 tbsp unsalted butter
zest of 1 lemon, about 2 teaspoons
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
8 oz heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan
To cook the pasta, fill a stock pot halfway with water and bring to a gentle boil. Add the olive oil and a generous amount of salt. Stir the pasta in and continue to stir until the water returns to a boil. Stir occasionally while cooking. Cook for just several minutes until the pasta is very al dente. You can read the package directions for specific cooking times. Just make sure to take it off earlier than you’re supposed to since it will cook slightly longer in the sauce (rice pasta can easily overcook, causing it to become mushy and gummy). Add the peas to a colander and drain the pasta over the top of them.
To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan. Stir in the lemon zest and garlic and let the butter get slightly bubbly. Slowly add the heavy cream and stir. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for several minutes until the cream has reduced and thickened slightly. Add the Parmesan and stir until melted.
Turn the drained pasta and peas into the sauce pan and use tongs to evenly coat the noodles with the sauce. Serve hot.
Rice pasta is probably mostly consumed by those with a gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) intolerance. I tried to go gluten-free for a while. Fatigue is a symptom of a gluten allergy and my body was (and is? ahem) butt-tired all the time. I figured I’d give it a whirl. Nothing happened. Zip. One day, in the midst of my experiment, I saw a tender, buttery biscuit somewhere and was like, “…oh, heck no. Forget this.” I snapped my hips in its direction and that beautiful, gluten-filled, wheat flour flakiness was snatched and consumed right then and there. And nothing changed. Y’all. Let’s get real. We all know the reason I’m butt-tired all the time is because I go to sleep at 2:30 every night. Er, every morning. Er, I’m trying to get better.