Noodles are a type of pasta which were introduced into Italy by the explorer Marco Polo after he had visited China in the thirteenth century. They are now widely eaten all over Europe and America, and can be made at home or bought.

Noodles are made with flour, water and eggs, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, fresh or dried. Fresh noodles should be cooked as soon as possible after they have been made. Dried noodles, usually bought ready packed, may be stored in a cool, dry place for several months.

To cook 1 pound of fresh or dried noodles, bring 6 pints of salted water to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat.

Add the noodles and, stirring once or twice with a fork, cook them for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are ‘al dente’, or just tender. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the noodles in a colander.

Chinese noodles differ in that they are made with a mixture of wheat flour and rice flour, and shaped into long strips, some as thick as spaghetti and some extremely thin. Chinese noodles may be partially cooked and deep-fried until crisp, or cooked, drained and lightly fried with vegetables or meat.

Cooked noodles may be served plain or buttered and seasoned as an accompani- ment to meat or fish dishes, or cooked with cheese, sauces, vegetables or meat and served as a complete meal.

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