The Oil Trick To Prevent Gluten-Free Pasta From Becoming Mushy

If you've been paying attention over the past few years (what's up, gluten-intolerant friends!?), you surely noticed that gluten-free products have gotten tastier and less grainy. This is especially true of pasta (and allow us to tell you all about the 13 best types), but you still need a couple of tricks up your sleeve when cooking the non-glutinous variety. In addition to Alex Guarneschelli's advice about adding a little acidity, you might also try incorporating some olive oil before and after the cooking process to keep your gluten-free pasta from sticking together. 

We know this advice will be met with some (well, a lot of) skepticism. While pretty much everybody agrees that well-salted water makes better pasta, many (including us!) advise against adding oil to the pot before tossing in your noodles. The usual rationale for the addition of olive oil to the pasta water is that it helps prevent the noodles from sticking together. While that technique doesn't work as well for glutinous pasta as maintaining a rolling boil, it actually does help with the gluten-free variety — as it tends towards mushiness.

Like oil and water

Whatever ingredients they contain, all gluten-free flours have two things in common: they're devoid of gluten and heavy on starch. The simple reason for this? Something must provide structure, so eliminating the former necessitates the latter. Starch, as we all know, can get sticky if it absorbs too much water — and now we see why cooking gluten-free pasta in a large pot of boiling water might present some problems! 

This is why adding a little olive oil to the pot after the water boils but before you add the pasta will help. In fact, you should toss the pasta with more oil once it's been cooked and rinsed to further prevent clumping. We fully recognize that doing this might keep your tomato sauce from perfectly coating the pasta but also believe that to be less of an issue than ending up with a gummy, starchy singularity instead of delicious strands of gluten-free spaghetti. Have you been thinking about going gluten-free but hesitating? Consider another obstacle removed.