I would like to experiment with flavoured 'spaghetti' by taking a juice and gelling it in spaghetti shape, so I could have beetroot strands that I could use in a pasta dish.

Anyone done this? Got any tips on gelling agents to use and what I could make the strands with ie moulds etc?

  • A lot of great answers, thanks. In the end roux gets the bounty as it looks like that will serve my needs best.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 22:10

6 Answers 6


I've seen it done with agar-agar on the Danish show "Spise med Price". They made spaghetti with lemon balm. They sucked the warm liquid with agar-agar in it up with a syringe, pushed the liquid into a thin plastic tube, which they lowered into ice water. Before they served it, they pushed the spaghetti out of the tube with the syringe.

Lemon balm spaghetti

As for a flavor idea, they served it with carrot cake made in mere minutes (from start to finish) in a microwave oven.

  • sounds interesting Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 14:35
  • like the idea of using a straw to hold the liquid whilst cooling to get the spaghetti effect, then using a syringe to get it out.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 10:03

Check out this PDF called 'Texture: A Hydrocolloid Recipe Collection'. It has some recipes for various types of spaghetti using agar and other hydrocolloids. Since agar tends to dissolve under heat, it also has a recipe to make noodles with methyl cellulose which gels when heated.

They suggest using a syringe to make your strands of spaghetti. It may be time consuming, but I could see it working.

I like your ideas for flavors! Perhaps mushroom bisque/broth flavored noodles with a beef stroganoff sauce.

  • Second that pdf. Great resource. Particularly, check out gellan as a gelling agent as it's stable up to 150F. I've made the saffron tagliatelle from that collection and they held together well when warmed (with some garlic shrimp). But I think the suggestion of Sodium Alginate with Calcium Chloride is probably your best bet as the gel starts to form on contact rather than as it cools.
    – yossarian
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 19:11
  • yeah, I agree that the Sodium Alginate with Calcium Chloride seems best, as it seems the easiest to make the 'noodles' out of. you might be able to with some gellen, but you probably need to mold it in something, which then makes making a lot an issue
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 22:09

I can't help with the gelling, but to make the strands, consider using (making?) a chitarra : it's a frame with parallel wires -- you lay a sheet of pasta on top, then use a rolling pin to force it onto the wires, cutting the pasta into strands. This would allow you to make sheets of gel, rather than trying to form each strand individually.

Some quick searching suggests they can be bought from a gourmet cooking store in the US for $40. I don't know how hard it would be to find one in the UK. I've also seen things that look like multiple pizza cutters mounted so they can be adjusted in how far apart they are. (it looks like they're called an "adjustable dough divider" or "adjustable dough cutter", and they run between $22 and $200). There are also fixed blades mounted on a single handle, and looks like the term to use is "rolling pasta cutter", which are much more reasonably priced, but not as flexible in their use)

  • +1 not a bad idea, and I can get a 'spaghetti guitar' from my brother so would be doable, especially if this was going to be for a few people. filling straws or setting the gel in a bath for 30 people could be a real ball ache :)
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 20, 2010 at 14:06

Starch gelatinization. Not sure if it'll work, but it won't melt at high temperatures. Might be worth experimenting with.


Regarding flavors, try the Matcha tea ...also for the color of course,


Sheet gelatin. Commercial bakeries use sheet gelatin to make large quantities of gelled foods such as jello. It's perfectly edible and neutrally flavored.

  • the one problem with gelatin is that it doesn't remain as a gel at high temperature, it melts. So for hot foods gelatin won't work, you need to use some other gelling agent.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 18:51
  • You would cook the mixture and extrude it hot before serving, unless you were planning on serving it above the gelling temperature. What about starch? Cooking starch to its bursting point will produce gels, although they'd be weak. Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 18:56
  • I'd want to make the gel, then heat it up (say in a warm water bath) so it is a 'hot' dish temperature, ie well above room/body temperature (I think gelatine is only a gel up to about 37C), then serve with whatever else, which would also be hot.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 19:07

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