For many people, choosing the right noodle is weighty issue when it comes to the comfort of chicken noodle soup. Bouncy, hearty and wide, egg noodles are a good choice because they soak up the broth and handle multiple re-heating. Fettuccine, also a wide noodle and one of the oldest pasta shapes around, makes for a good substitute in soup as long as the noodles are stored separately and not overcooked.
What makes a noodle different from pasta comes down to ingredients and shape. Both pasta and egg noodles can be made from scratch using simple ingredients. Fettuccine describes a shape of pasta made from Durum flour -- a hard wheat with a yellow endosperm that gives pasta its classic ivory color. Egg noodles, as the name suggests, always contain whole egg and soft or hard wheat, making them softer and more porous. When choosing egg noodles, look for those made in Italy for a higher quality product.
How Much to Cook
Both egg noodles and fettuccine thicken chicken soup, but they absorb liquid and expand differently. Egg noodles thicken the soup by soaking up the broth, while fettuccine noodles simply add bulk. The National Pasta Association says that 1 cup of egg noodles will yield 2 1/2 cups of cooked noodles, whereas 1 cup of cooked fettuccine yields 4 cups of cooked pasta. When substituting fettuccine for the noodles in your soup recipe, use slightly more than half the amount of egg noodles called for in the recipe, or adjust the amount of pasta according to your preference for thick or brothy soup.
Avoiding the Mushy Noodle
Because of the high egg content in egg noodles, they hold up better than pasta when soaked for a long time in broth soups. Fettuccine, on the other hand, is best cooked separately and added to the soup just before serving. To preserve their shape and texture, boil fettuccine noodles in their own pot instead of cooking them in the soup. Cook the fettuccine until slightly underdone -- about one or two minutes less than instructed on the package -- and rinse in cold water. Toss with olive oil or with a tablespoon of the soup broth to keep the noodles from sticking until you are ready to serve.
Saving and Serving
Just before serving, warm up the fettuccine, or simply place the noodles in your bowl, and ladle the hot soup on top. You may also cook the pasta ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When using precooked fettuccine from the refrigerator, warm up the noodles first to avoid a cool soup. Either microwave individual servings on high for 45 seconds, or place the cooked pasta in a colander and submerge it in boiling water for 40 to 60 seconds per 1/2-cup serving.
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