Last time at the grocery store, they didn’t have the Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta. I checked both Target and Publix, and all either place had was this same purple bag of elbows from Tinkyáda. Usually, the 8-ounce box from Ancient Harvest runs about $3 or $3.50. But this 16-ounce bag of Tinkyáda was a mere $3.99.
Plus, they made a HUGE deal about the good texture. Not mushy. Al dente. Okay, Tinkyáda. We get it.
I was a little leery about the cooking time, for starters. I mean, the Ancient Harvest stuff was just right after 8 minutes in boiling water. But this stuff?
Seriously, 16-17 minutes? Not only does that seem like a really specific amount of time, but it seems like a really long time. And in case you’re wondering, the “Easy and energy-saving method” (which is clearly Easy with a capital E) is printed on the front of the bag. Bring water to a boil, insert pasta, cover and turn off the heat. Wait 20 minutes, then drain. Not so much with a time savings.
Oh, and if you think this packaging reads like Engrish, check out the Tinkyáda website. It’s not quite Dr. Bronner-grade weird, but it’s certainly unusual. The design takes me back to the late ’90s, and the writing doesn’t seem to be from a native English speaker. Though the stuff is made in Ontario, Canada, which I always thought was less French than Quebec. Hm, je ne sais quoi.
Anyway, with vows of such non-mushitude …
Promised by two happy bunnies holding a … gigantic grain of rice?
I had to try it out. I weighed out a 2-ounce serving, got water heating up in my little single-serve saucepan, and got my Tinkyáda on.
Once the elbows hit the water, I had 16 minutes to figure out how to dress the stuff. But really, when presented with elbows, there’s only one logical choice.
That’s right, neon orange. Sorry, marinara and alfredo. Maybe some other time.
(Side note: did you grow up calling it “macaroni and cheese” or “Kraft dinner”? I’d never heard “Kraft dinner” until the Barenaked Ladies discussed it in a song. Maybe that’s a Canadian thing. For some reason, it also makes me think of the battle of “Lik-M-Aid” vs. “Fun Dip”.)
(Oh, and that oven mitt in the background? The groovy orangey yellowy one with even groovier blue innards? I made that.)
Onward. I tested the pasta at 10 minutes and again at 12, and I actually pulled it and strained it at 12. I do like mine with a little bite, and I think the 12-14 zone will be just right. Melted some butter, threw in some cream (yeah, I know you’re supposed to use milk, but I don’t have milk in the house). Then I added the neon orange cheese powder. What I don’t get is how the container encourages me to shake and sprinkle the cheese on stuff, then says the serving size is 2 teaspoons. That would take a LOT of shaking. Anyhoo, I just screwed the cap off and shoved my teaspoon down in there. And I went with 3 teaspoons, because that’s how I roll.
This is really why I should invest in a non-clear bowl for food display purposes. It feels like the mac-n-cheese is hovering over a dish towel. I mean, I guess I could have put the food on one of my white plates, but only a monster would eat mac-n-cheese out of anything other than a bowl (or the pot it was cooked in).
So, how did it taste? CHEEEZY GOOD. And none of the vague rice flavor like the De Boles rice pasta had when I tried it. The pasta itself was mostly flavorless, which for me is a good thing.
As for the texture, it was indeed al dente and not mushy. Maybe one or two more minutes would be even better — I’ll have to play around with the cook time. So good on flavor, texture, and price — 50¢ per serving is a price that the other guys can only match when they’re on sale. I give the Tinkyáda brown rice elbows a solid 9 out of 10 and will certainly use the rest in a variety of tasty ways.
Unless I end up making 8 servings of neon orange.