Just because you are on a gluten-free diet does not mean you have to say good-bye to pasta. There are many wonderful gluten-free pasta options on the market today that can be found in health food and grocery stores, online stores and direct from manufacturers.
A variety of grains, flours and starches are used to make gluten-free pasta - amaranth, buckwheat, corn, potato, quinoa, white rice, brown rice, wild rice, soy, mung bean flour and lupin flour. Some brands have added flax, psyllium, rice bran or prebiotics. Most gluten-free pasta is not enriched with vitamins and minerals like gluten-containing pasta. However a few brands enrich their products with iron and B vitamins (e.g., Deboles Gluten-Free Multigrain and Rice Plus with Flax, Pastato Fortified Potato Pasta).
Available in all kinds of shapes– ranging from angel hair, elbows, linguine, penne, spaghetti to lasagna and more, gluten-free pasta can be purchased in small quantities and bulk sizes.
Remember that some “wheat-free” pastas are made from kamut or spelt and are NOT gluten-free. Some brands of buckwheat pasta contain buckwheat flour AND wheat flour so that is not allowed.
In addition to plain gluten-free pasta, a number of companies make pasta & sauce mixes. And some offer pre-cooked heat and serve pasta that can be done in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Gluten-free pasta can be substituted for wheat pasta in most recipes. The texture and taste of gluten-free pasta varies from brand to brand so experiment until you find ones you like. Here are a few tips for cooking gluten-free pasta…
Use plenty of water- about 4 cups of water for every 8 ounces of pasta.
Add the pasta into boiling water with a drop of cooking oil. Stir frequently until it comes to a boil again to prevent sticking together.
Follow package directions closely. Each gluten-free grain cooks at different rates. Check pasta a few minutes before recommended cooking time. Don’t overcook gluten-free pasta and serve immediately- or it can go mushy!
Chilled left-over pasta clumps together so rinse briefly with hot water before using.
Here’s a recipe for:
Pasta with Braised Peppers & Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups red bell peppers, sliced
- 1 cup yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1-1/4 cups sliced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh basil chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz. gf fettucine
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic; sauté for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken stock and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in the basil, and red wine vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While peppers are cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Add the pasta to the peppers and toss to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide pasta among 4 pasta bowls and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
We used Tinkyada’s gf fettucine for the gf fettucine in this recipe. To purchase this product please click the link below in our Recommended Tools section.
Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta
Makes 2-3 main course servings.
- 8 ounces gf angel hair pasta
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ripe roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated (optional)
Mince garlic and press with the back of a chef’s knife to smash. Add salt to garlic and continue to smash garlic until salt is mixed in. (This will remove the bitterness in the fresh garlic.)
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic paste, tomatoes and basil. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Optional) Sprinkle with finely grated parmigiano- reggiano. Serve.
Article by Shelley Case, RD
Shelley Case, RD is a consulting dietitian, speaker and author of the national best seller Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. See www.glutenfreediet.ca