Non-wheat pastas such as soba, rice noodles, and other fresh Asian noodles can be found in Asian markets. The more popular varieties may also be available in some supermarkets. For other non-wheat pastas, your best bet is a health-food store or supermarket; the latter increasingly stock a wide variety of gluten-free options in keeping with the growing popularity of these foods.
Look for packages of dried pasta that are tightly sealed with whole, rather than broken-up pasta shapes. Shop where the shelves are replenished frequently and the store does a brisk business. Dried non-wheat pastas are also available in bulk sections. For fresh pastas, packages should be well sealed and the pasta should not look dry around the edges.
How to store pasta
Store dried pasta in airtight containers in your pantry. Dried pastas will keep for several months. Store fresh pastas for a day or two in the refrigerator or for three months in the freezer, tightly wrapped. Fresh rice noodles become stiff when cold, so they are often sold at room temperature and will keep for a day or two.
How to use non-wheat pasta
Most non-wheat pastas require no more preparation than regular wheat pastas. There are some Asian noodles, however, that are a little different. The flavor and texture of dried rice noodles benefit from soaking before use in recipes. Soak the noodles for 15 or 20 minutes in hot water, then quickly rinse them to wash away excess starch. Cellophane noodles require 10 to 30 minutes of presoaking. Once soaked, cellophane noodles and rice noodles need to be only briefly heated before serving.
7 recipe ideas for non-wheat pasta
1. Make stuffed rice wrappers. Soften rice papers in warm water, then fold around cooked vegetables, shrimp, chicken, or tofu. Make a soy-ginger dipping sauce.
2. Soak cellophane noodles until soft and silky and add to salads, or soak just until chewy and use in stir-fries or sautés.
3. Serve chili over corn pasta instead of with corn bread.
4. Toss cold cooked buckwheat noodles with slivers of cooked duck breast, scallions, and cooked green beans. Dress with a light sherry wine vinaigrette.
5. Use potato pasta instead of potato gnocchi.
6.Use yam pasta in a sweet noodle dessert such as kugel.
7. Make buckwheat pasta stir-fry with snap peas, bok choy, and a peanut sauce. Top with crunchy bean sprouts.