Today I’m welcoming my sister, Marlie Johnson, to the blog with a food post on eating gluten-free and Italian:
The most important lesson I have learned for cooking gluten free pasta is to not overcook it AT ALL. It will turn to mush. If you are going to add the pasta to a sauce and bake it, then stop cooking it about a minute before the directions for al dente – it will finish cooking while baking, and be perfect.
Here is a recipe that I have used gluten free penne in, and it turned out great. I had it “taste tested” by people who only eat gluten free, and several who eat anything! They all said it was really good, and asked when I was going to make it again.
Here is the original recipe (what I changed follows):
1 lb hot Italian sausage links 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (16 oz ) package of rigatoni 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (24 oz) jar of marinara sauce salt and pepper to taste
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, thinly sliced 1 cup shredded Monzzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesean 1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup grated Asiago 1/2 med. yellow onion, chopped.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and cook pasta until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until cooked through. Remove from skillet, cool, and cut into slices. Add the garlic, fennel and onion to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the roasted red peppers, basil and sausage and the marinara sauce. Heat through over low heat until warmed.
Combine the pasta with the sauce and vegetables in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Spread the cheeses on top. Garnish with a few fennel leaves. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.
The changes I made are:
I used bulk sausage instead of links.
I used Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta, and cooked it one minute less than the package called for al dente.
I cooked the vegetable for about 10 -12 minutes, until the fennel was almost fully cooked.
I did use a jar of marinara… (sorry, Grandma)
Would I change anything else the next time I make it? I would try it with sweet Italian sausage, or an equal mix of hot and mild. It had great flavor, but it was spicy hot! For me this one is a keeper, and I will make it gluten free for everyone who is coming to dinner!
Serve with salad, or a green vegetable, garlic bread and your favorite wine. Watch salad dressings for gluten…it hides in all kinds of condiments! You can make croutons and garlic bread from gluten free bread. Rudi’s brand bread is the best I have found. It is good for French toast ….if you want to send your taste buds a little farther north in Europe!