I’m Italian and let’s face it, Italians love their pasta! As a kid growing up, my mother made pasta every Thursday night (no rhyme or reason to the Thursday, it just ended up that way), and we always had family dinner on Sunday that revolved around a big pot of sauce (or gravy in some houses!), meatballs, sausage and sometimes a big hunk of pork — all simmered for hours on the stove. Yum! When I first became aware of my issues with gluten in my early 20’s, gluten free pasta was pretty pathetic, to be perfectly honest. It was purely rice based (back then, they didn’t add much by way of potato starch or other ingredients to enhance the flavor and “mouthfeel”). My serving of pasta at Sunday dinner ended up looking like a sad bowl of white mush, very pasty and sticky. But, I loaded it up with tomato sauce and pretended not to notice the difference.
Nowadays, the food companies have really turned the corner when it comes to manufacturing gluten free pasta, and thankfully so! Many of them, including my favorite brand, is manufactured in Italy, which ironically, has a high population of people with celiac disease. What’s odd is that everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has gluten issues (including myself) ate their way through Italy and didn’t have one stomach-ache! I think it’s just genetics, really. I scratch my head on that one. Sigh, I digress.
Without further adieu, my favorite DRY gluten free pasta, which is readily available these days at most major grocery stores, as well as health food stores, is a brand called Bionaturae. It’s an organic rice/potato/soy blend that tastes and cooks up like regular pasta — no starchy, sticky mess!
In this video from my YouTube channel, I’m boiling four bags of it to make a pasta salad. Each bag is 12 ounces, so four bags is the equivalent of two pounds of pasta. Many of the gluten free pasta brands that I’ve tried get very sticky and starchy and clump together. Not this one. And it re-heats well, too. I store leftovers in a plastic or glass container in the fridge and reheat as needed, usually in the microwave, unless I’m reconstituting with more sauce/liquid, in which case I’d do it on the stove.
Here’s the delicious pasta salad I made in all its glory! No clumps!!! This pasta salad was made with asparagus and zucchini that I roasted in butter, then tossed with lemon juice and parsley. Simple and delicious.
As far as FRESH gluten free pastas go, I really like Trader Joe’s brand of gluten free egg fettuccine, which is sold in the refrigerated section of the store. Unopened, it stays fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or can also be frozen. Unfortunately, the closest Trader Joe’s to me is a good 20-25 minute drive, so I don’t buy it very often. However, when I’m there, I usually pick up a few packages and store them in my freezer. Be sure to use a very large pot of water for this, as it tends to stick together and the water gets very cloudy. This pasta also requires that you stand over the pot and continually separate the strands of fettuccine with tongs (again, to avoid clumping). However, the taste is fantastic and worth the effort.
ALWAYS be sure to generously salt your cooking water, especially when cooking gluten free pasta. It helps and adds flavor!