This recipe can be applied to any pasta dish to liven it up. Not only are the noodles interchangeable but the seasonings are versatile as well.
Here at A Spoon & A Fork we are huge fans of pasta. We love noodles in all their shapes and sizes (well, maybe not gnocchi) and we can almost always figure out a way to incorporate them into a meal. What's great about pasta is it's versatility and it's easy prep - when we're in a hurry to get a meal put together pasta pretty much always comes into play, allowing a complete meal to be created without too much fuss or hassle.
While we're fans of pasta we have noticed that pasta can be a little bland at times - and even if it isn't, it's mild flavor can easily be enhanced with a little seasoning (we're big fans of seasoning too, as you'll notice).
One of our favorite pairings for Three Herb Noodles is our Spicy Tomato Sauce (coming soon), however seasoned noodles can easily be incorporated in many-a casserole or roasted vegetable dish (like our January bonus recipe).
You can totally season regular wheat or egg noodles but since we're gluten and egg free here at A Spoon & A Fork we prefer gluten-free pastas. Gluten-free pastas can be a little more temperamental than regular pasta - some you have to cook less than the package instructions suggest (such as pastas made with brown rice flour, like Tinkyada, a brand we like) and others you have to cook longer so they don't come out too chewy (especially those made with corn, although we avoid corn pastas whenever possible ourselves). Also, gluten-free pastas almost always create cloudy boil water, which can be a little disconcerting for the newbie gluten-free pasta cook. Following are some suggestions for cooking gluten-free pasta.
When boiling water for gluten-free pasta add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon avocado oil. We've noticed they both seem to help speed up the boiling process, while also helping to keep the noodles from sticking to each other. Plus, the extra flavoring aspect - a little salt can go a long way, while avocado oil can lend an almost buttery taste.
Some pasta recipes call for rinsing your noodles in cool water after draining. This is because while the pasta is hot it is still technically cooking so if you cook it just the right amount it can become overcooked - or mushy and falling apart - if you don't rinse it. We suggest instead that you cook it about a minute or so less than the package instructions (particularly for the brands Andean Dream and BioNature, our favorites, made from rice, quinoa and potato starches) and season and then serve right away while it's still warm. Warm pasta is infinitely nicer to eat than lukewarm or cool pasta, unless you're making a cold pasta salad on purpose.
In this particular recipe less is more when it comes to the seasonings - a hint of flavor makes the noodles tasty, if you add too much seasoning you risk your pasta dish turning out grainy.
Adding oil to the pasta is to help the pasta from sticking as it cools and dries; pasta tends to stick together as it cools and gluten-free pasta in particular has a tendency to start drying out, so it will soak up the oil more than regular pasta (if you're not making gluten-free pasta, you can reduce the oil a bit).
Gluten-free pasta tends to get stiff after it's been cooled so, when reheating we suggest adding about a teaspoon of oil and two tablespoons of water (to keep it from sticking and to soften up the noodles).
Why do we use avocado oil in this recipe? Aside from the boiling water, where it's necessary to have an oil that doesn't change properties in high temperatures (see this link for further info on healthy oils), avocado oil has a mild flavoring itself but lends an almost buttery taste to certain foods, like rice and pasta, and a buttery taste without adding dairy is a beautiful thing.
You can use garlic granules in place of garlic powder in this recipe however the final consistency of the pasta may be a little grainy or sandy. Do not use garlic salt - it will turn out much too salty and will ruin the dish altogether.
You can omit the oregano for a basil roasted vegetable casserole dish.
Try infused oil instead of the regular avocado oil or in place of one of the seasonings - such as rosemary-infused avocado oil in addition to the dry oregano, basil and garlic. Or garlic-infused avocado oil, basil-infused avocado oil, oregano-infused avocado oil - see where we're going with this? Don't know where to get some awesome infused oils? Try these guys.
Try 1/8 teaspoon cayenne and smoked paprika for a spicy, smoky Cajun-Creole flavoring (you can keep or omit the basil and/or oregano).
Prefer olive oil? You can add olive oil during the seasoning process for that distinctive olive oil flavor. We strongly advise not using the oil when boiling the pasta however because of how the properties of olive oil change in high heat. (This link has further info on that.)
Recipe: Three Herb Noodles
Course: Side Dish
Skill Level: Beginner
Prep Time: 5 minutes (plus boiling the water time)
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Total Time: about 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2 generously, 4 single servings
1 8-12oz package gluten-free pasta (we prefer Andean Dream or BioNature Organic Gluten-Free)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp avocado oil (keep separate)
water for boiling
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Boil water, adding the salt and a tablespoon of oil.
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, two minutes less than the packaged directions specify.
Turn off burner and let pot sit for an additional minute before draining noodles.
Put remaining tablespoon of oil in pot and replace noodles in pot, tossing until all noodles are coated in oil.
Add garlic powder, dried basil and dried oregano and toss noodles until coated thoroughly.
If using in a dish, add to other ingredients. Otherwise, serve immediately, while still warm.
Tried these noodles with something other than tomato sauce? Tell us how it went! What other seasoning variations have you used? Let us know how your herb noodles went in the comments section below!