Starch Food – Rice and Pasta

Rice and Pasta


Rice is the starchy seed or grain cultivated in warm climates and used for food throughout the world. With the increased interest in the food of different parts of the world, rice appears much more often on the menu. It can be cooked in a number of interesting ways fairly, quickly and easily. It can be served as the main dish or as an accompaniment. There are many different varieties of rice found around the world. They are:

Brown rice: It is rice which has undergone minimal milling and has the outer cover removed but it retains its bran and is more nutritious. It has long grain and distinctly nutty flavor.

Long grain rice: It is white, slim and four to five times as long as it is wide. It has a subtle flavor which complements both rice and delicate sauce. The examples of long grain rice are basmati, Bokhari, jasmine, risotto etc.

Short grain rice: It is short tubby and chalky in appearance and clings together on cooking. It is also called pudding rice. It typically comes from Italy especially used for pudding and sweets.

Wild rice: It is not a true rice. It is an aquatic plant related to the rice family. The grains of wild rice is long and slim and range in color from dark to black. It is grown in USA and Canada. It is often mixed with other types of rice such as white or brown long rice, providing the attractive contrast of color and flavor.

Preparation method of rice

Preparation of rice includes washing, draining, boiling or cooking and molding. Rice requires a moist cooking method, boiling is the most common method of cooking rice. Steam is done just to reheat it.

For Example, chicken curry with rice means boiled rice. Rice is the traditional accompaniment to curries and many ethnic dishes. It is an alternative to potatoes for dishes. Rice can be combined with a wide range of other foods.

  • Vegetables: Rice can be mixed with various vegetables to accompany the main course.
  • Stock: Rice is cooked in stock for pilafs, risottos, and paellas.
  • Cheese: Some pilafs and risottos have grated cheese added at last moment.
  • Herbs and spices: To add flavor to rice dishes.
  • Eggs: Hardboiled egg mixed with rice dishes.
  • Fish and Shellfish: Pallas often includes shellfish
  • Meat: Stir-fried, risottos often include meat.

The storing process of rice is the same as the process of storing other cereals. It should also be kept in a tight fitting container in a cool and well-ventilated storeroom. Cooking times and method may vary according to the types of dishes


Pasta is a type of noodle and staple food. Pasta is low in fat, high in fiber and a good source of protein. Pasta contains complex carbohydrates, which the body digests slowly. The basic ingredients of pasta are flour and water (mix). Pasta may be served for lunch, dinner, snack meal and also used as a garnish to other dishes.

Pasta is an ancient food—not so ancient that it predates written records, but no one was taking notes when this popular food first came into the scene. Scholars credit the Chinese with making pasta from rice flour as early as 1700 B.C.E. The pasta-centric Italians believe pasta dates back to the ancient Etruscans, who inhabited the Etruria region of Italy (the central western portion of Italy, what now are Tuscany, Latium and Umbria) from the Iron Age into Roman times (from the 11th century B.C.E. to the 1st century B.C.E.). Around 400 B.C.E., they began to prepare a lasagna-type noodle made of spelled. The Romans who followed made lagane, a kind of lasagna, from the dough of water and flour. However, both the Etruscans and the Romans baked their noodles in an oven, so boiled pasta had yet to be born in Italy.

Types of Pasta

Characteristics of different types of pasta are as follows:

  1. Green Pasta: Puree of blanched spinach is added to the mix.
  2. Red Pasta: Tomato paste is added to the mix.
  3. Black Pasta: Ink of cuttlefish is added to mix.
  4. Herbs: Finely chopped herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, coriander) are added with a mix
  5. Tricolor: Pasta is packed to give a mixture of green, red, and white.

Pasta is available in two forms: dried and fresh or frozen. Pasta comes in over 200 different shapes with more than 600 names for these shapes. Some of them are as follows:

  • Spaghetti: The longish thin (string like when cooked)
  • Macaroni: Short tube about 25mm long
  • Lasagne: It is in sheet form, mostly used for layered dishes.
  • Ravioli: It is squared or little packed stuffed with filling.
  • Tortellini: Plump, Crescent shaped
  • Cannelloni: Fat tube ready to be stuffed.
  • Fettuccine: Thin, flat, about ¼ wide

Quality check and storage of pasta

  • Check the best date on dried, frozen and similar long-life plates of pasta.
  • The packing should be in good condition.
  • Dried pasta should be kept in a cool, dry room.
  • Use the older stock first but always check the date stamp.
  • Once a packet has been opened, transfer to an airtight container. Write the best before the date on the container.
  • Fresh pasta should be kept refrigerated and well wrapped so it does not absorb flavors or smell from other foods. Keep them apart from uncooked foods.

Read Also: Vagetables, fruits and Salads