Monday, May 27, 2013

Pasta - You Don't Have to Settle

I love Italian food!  My husband and I both have Italian grandmothers, and so many of our family traditions and dinners involve pasta, pizza, panini, etc.  Oddly enough, I wasn't a huge fan of pasta as a child.  I didn't like my family's old school Italian sauce that was cooked on the stove for hours, and hours, and hours.  My parents said I would grow out of that and like it some day.  I proved them wrong on that count!  I used to eat the homemade pasta my mom and grandmother made with butter, instead of sauce.  It seemed kind of dull and unexciting.  It wasn't until I discovered that I liked Romano cheese that I started liking pasta a bit more.  Then, in my 20s, I worked at a restaurant called the Italian Oven and fell in love with so many different pasta dishes.   I love alfredo, and carbonara, and pasta primavera with vegetables.   My mom also started making a quick cook tomato sauce that I really liked.  My mom and my aunt also make amazing beef ravioli.  Gnocchi, which my husband's grandmother is incredibly skilled at making, is another family favorite.



After being diagnosed with Celiac, I tried several brands of gluten free pasta and was disappointed by all of them.  There was definitely no brand that my gluten eating family would eat, so we rarely cooked pasta for about three years.  Once in a blue moon, I would make myself some Tinkyada pasta, but I hated the fact that I had to rinse it with cold water after cooking it, and it just didn't taste right to me.  About two years ago, I discovered Bionaturae gluten free pasta.  


My family likes the Bionaturae fusilli, linguine, and elbows, but we are not fans of the penne.  I dusted off all my old pasta recipes and started making pasta again.  This year, we discovered another great brand of gluten free pasta that we enjoyed even more than Bionaturae.  


BiAglut, like Bionaturae, is made in Italy, but it is much harder to find in the United States.  I first saw it in a store called Gluten Free Zone in Pittsburgh, but didn't have room in my suitcase to bring it home.  Because the gentleman I talked to in the store recommended it so highly, I finally broke down and ordered some BiAglut Penne from amazon.  We were not disappointed!  Like Bionaturae, you don't have to rinse it, and it is really good left over, not mushy at all.  Amazon is the best place I have found to buy BiAglut.   When it's in stock, you can buy it in bulk and pay no shipping or tax.  We have also tried their Pipes (shells), Rigatoni, Fusilli, and Stelline.  They are all just as good as the penne!  BiAglut does not contain rice, but it does contain lupin flour and lupin protein, which should be avoided by people with peanut allergies.  
Update -- I have recently been purchasing BiAglut from Vitacost.com.  

We also like Conte's Gluten Free Gnocchi, which we purchase in the freezer section at the Whole Foods on Turkey Lake Road or from Chamberlin's in Winter Park.  Gnocchi is a potato pasta, which looks like a little dough ball. We have experimented with making it from scratch, but it was time consuming, messy, and frankly, just not worth it when we can buy a product we like a little better.

January 4, 2014 Update -- you can read more about the brands of gluten free gnocchi we are buying here in my blog post about gnocchi.  Our new favorite is DeLallo, which we purchase at The Fresh Market.  We also love DeLallo Gluten Free Orzo.  My kids beg me to make it for them for lunch all the time.  They love it with butter and Romano or Parmesan cheese.  I have purchased the orzo at Walmart and The Fresh Market.  


I'm not a fan of sauce from a jar, but we recently discovered Scarpetta Tuscan Vodka Sauce. It's better than the vodka sauce we make from scratch and it's labeled Gluten Free.  It is sugar and preservative free too, but I will admit I like to add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the sauce before I serve it. I first found it at The Fresh Market, but now purchase it "subscribe and save" from amazon.  We have also purchased Scarpetta's Pink Pesto Sauce, but the vodka sauce is our favorite.   My favorite 10 minute dinner is DeLallo Gnocchi with Scarpetta Tuscan Vodka Sauce and microwave in the bag frozen peas.  


April 2, 2014 Update -- I recently tried and reviewed Barilla gluten free pasta.  It has great texture and taste, it's more affordable than most gluten free pastas, and it's available at Publix, Target, and my local Walmart Neighborhood Market.  You can read my review here.  


October 6, 2014 Update

After reading about Le Veneziane on Bon Appetit's The Best Gluten-Free Pastas, I bought a package of their fettuccine from Vitacost.com.  After being blown away by how good the fettuccine was, we purchased Le Veneziane rigatoni as well.  Don't be turned off by the fact that it is gluten free corn pasta.  It tastes like the pasta I used to eat pre-celiac, and my gluten-eating family loves it.  You can read my review of Le Veneziane pasta here.


 Mom's Quick Cook Tomato Sauce


I intensely disliked tomato sauce until my mom started making this quick and easy tomato sauce recipe.  It is slightly sweet, and oh so delicious.  You can view the recipe here.  

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables



There is something so special about this pasta dish.  Every time I eat it, I marvel at how good it is.  Make it with your favorite vegetables, and I am sure you will adore it too!  You can view the recipe for Pasta with Roasted Vegetables here.  

Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Garlic, and White Beans



I love to cook this pasta dish when we have guests over.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  You can view the recipe here.

Pasta with Greens & Beans



If you love greens & beans, you have to try Pasta with Greens & Beans.  It's a great Meatless Monday meal, it's easy to make, and is sure to put a smile on your face.  My family always raves about this one.  

Pasta with Uncooked Tomato Basil Sauce


Pasta with Uncooked Tomato Basil Sauce is a great make ahead meal.  Cut up your tomatoes, basil and garlic in the morning, marinate them in some olive oil, and all you have to do when you are ready to eat dinner is cook your pasta.  You can view the recipe here.

Deconstructed Beef Ravioli


One of the pasta dishes I miss most from my gluten-eating days is the homemade beef ravioli my mom & aunt make.  I have made gluten free beef ravioli, but it is way too time consuming, so I now make a deconstructed version that has all the same elements and flavors, but only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.  You can view my recipe for deconstructed beef ravioli here.  

Gluten Free Baked Pasta 


I have never liked lasagna, but I do love pasta baked with a fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and grated Parm or Romano.  You can view my recipe for baked pasta here.  

Four Cheese Pasta with Spinach & Tomatoes




Four Cheese Pasta with Spinach & Tomatoes is definitely one of our favorite pasta dishes.  The depth of flavor is amazing!  You can view the recipe here.  


Creamy Garlic Chicken Penne




This pasta dish came about because I was in the mood for a white sauce, and I had chicken to use.  My daughter Emma begs me to make it all the time.  You can view the recipe here

Pesto Pasta


I never buy store bought pesto.  It is easy to make, you can freeze any leftovers, and it brings great flavor to so many dishes.  You can view my pesto recipe, and see how I use it on pasta, pizza, and sandwiches here.

Gluten Free Garlic Pesto Sauté 


 

This pasta dish was inspired by a meal I had at Noodle & Company in Pittsburgh.  You can view the recipe here.  

Five Bean Soup



Pasta is also great in soup.  Our favorite soup that incorporates pasta is Five Bean Soup.  This recipe gets my kids excited for dinner, it's full of healthy ingredients, and it makes for a great Meatless Monday meal.  

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls


Bread and pasta naturally go together.  I finally found a delicious, easy to make, gluten free bread recipe. It also happens to be grain free.  You can view it here.  








   


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