Most of us are guilty of cooking too much when it comes to starches. And when we do try to cook less, it somehow ends up not being enough. It’s very hard to get it just right, so how much, in dry weight, should be sufficient per person? Of course it all depends on whether the pasta, rice or couscous is meant to be for a first course or a main course, how hungry you and your family or guests are, and whether or not you want leftovers. But let’s take a look at the average portion sizes used worldwide.
When it comes to rice the norm seems to be about ½ cup (90g) per person, although some people prefer to use a bit less – about 1/3 cup (60g) per person. And remember we are talking about uncooked rice here, which means that when it’s cooked it’s usually about a cup per person, as rice doubles in size. For a main meal this is definitely enough!
As a general guide, you should allow 75g dried pasta, 115g-150g fresh pasta or 175g-200g filled pasta (such as ravioli) per person. The same rule applies to all types of pasta – whether it’s spaghetti, penne, rigatoni or elbows. 70-80 grams of dry pasta turns into a satisfyingly deep-dish plateful. A mound is too much, because it will leave no space for the rest of the meal. When it comes to spaghetti a measuring stick is available to buy in most homeware shops, or you could order one online. This measuring tool has different sized holes from one upwards, and you put in whatever amount passes through the hole to match the amount of servings.
Couscous is perhaps less popular than rice and pasta, but is slowly but surely becoming more widely used. A general rule is that 100g couscous per person is sufficient. But of course this also depends on what you are serving it with. 1 cup dry couscous makes 2 – 2 ½ cups cooked couscous. As a side dish, plan on ½ to ¾ cup cooked couscous per person.