* Prices may differ from that shown
Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta
Quite Simply the Best Rice Pasta Ever
I love this product and I'd give it 10 stars if I could. I really love Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta, so this is going to be a very enthusiastic review, but hopefully it will be informative too.
If you eat a gluten-free diet or have someone in the family who does, then you know the importance of finding nutritious and tasty gluten-free alternatives. I'm a real pasta lover, and when I had to go gluten-free and give up all corn products too, I had quite a search on my hands to find good tasting pasta. After several years of checking out a variety of alternatives I finally found it: Rizopia, the perfect rice pasta. To understand why I love Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta so much you have to understand what I dislike about rice pasta in general, so here goes.
Problems with Rice Pasta
There are a number of gluten-free pastas in the market but I've only tried the ones that are corn-free too. My first problem with them is the taste. They all have a slightly disappointing watery taste. My second problem lies in how they cook. I found it really hard to cook rice pasta. Even if I timed it, and kept an eye on it, one of two things happened: either the pasta was too chewy, or I ended up with a bowl of mushy brown water with pasta-bits floating around in it. I found it very hard to get it just right. Now this wasn't too much of a problem after my kids left home, but for a busy mum, cooking a family meal, including a special diet, well you want a little more give in your cooking times. My final problem was with the texture. Clearly this is related to the cooking problem I just described. Eating rice pasta just wasn't as enjoyable as eating wheat pasta. All the rice pastas that I tried had a texture that was either too firm, or too mushy.
So what's it like
After a few years of trying the rice pastas available in mainstream supermarkets, I spotted Rizopia on a website specializing in selling gluten-free products, and decided to give it a go. Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta comes in fairly conventional pasta packaging, with all the free-from information displayed on the front. The ingredients are listed clearly on the back and consist of brown rice and water only. Under the ingredient list it clearly states that the pasta is manufactured in a nut-free and wheat-free environment. This is a real boon if you are dealing with nut allergies and severe wheat allergies: you know the product is safe. Cooking Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta is very similar to cooking any other pasta and the direction on the package are very clear and straight forward. I must confess my heart sank a little when I read the warning in capital letters: DO NOT OVERCOOK. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Cooking within the 7 to 10 minutes advised produced soft, yet slightly chewy pasta. Unsurprisingly shorter cooking times give you chewer pasta, longer times softer pasta.
Rizopia to the Rescue
The real surprise came when my teenage daughter arrived unexpectedly needing to unload a tale of woe involving an ex-best-friend and the boy she thought was "the one". First, she needed to talk, and then she needed some good comfort food. While she talked I forgot about my pot of pasta boiling away. By the time I remembered, I was sure it would be turned to mush, but no, it was still recognizably pasta. Once she finished unloading her troubles, I split the Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta between us and topped it off with some vegetables and tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, and we both tucked in. Like me my daughter is a real pasta lover, and was more than surprised by how much she enjoyed Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta. So much so, I've given up buying wheat pasta altogether.
A Good Variety
I've tried a number of different products in the Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta range. All the ones I've tried have been organic. A quick visit to the Rizopia website, www.rizopia.com, reveals that they also make a line of non-organic pasta, including a spinach and a vegetable variety as well as a line of wild rice pasta. Wild rice isn't a true rice, but is a closely related plant and like rice is gluten-free. I haven't tried either of these lines yet, but given my enthusiasm for Rizopia, I'm eager to do so. I've tried each of the varieties of organic pasta listed on the website, including, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Fusilli, Penne, Elbows, and the fun-shaped Fantasia. All were excellent, although I did detect a hint of the watery flavour common to rice pastas in the Spaghetti and the Fantasia. If you are cooking for a child on a gluten-free diet, I wouldn't let this last comment put you off. Fantasia is a great pasta for young children. The pasta pieces keep their shape and are easily recognizable objects of interest to children.
Why I love Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta
First, the taste. Unlike other rice pastas I've tried Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta doesn't have that disappointingly bland watery taste. Second, the flexible cooking time. I haven't tested this scientifically, but within my own rather haphazard kitchen, I've "overcooked" Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta and it's always been perfectly acceptable and has never turned mushy. Finally, the texture. This is where Rizopia really shines, eating Rizopia is just like eating normal pasta. Often eating gluten-free products can be more than slightly disappointing, somehow you always know you are eating a pretend product. Which ever product you choose, you eat it because you want the real thing, and the gluten-free alternative is the closest you are going to get, but it never quite satisfies. I am very happy to say this is not the case with Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta. I would recommend it to anyone on a gluten-free diet.