November 1, 2008

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!

One of the things I missed the most after accepting the gluten free diet was pasta. I have grown up eating as much pasta as the kids in Italy. Upon getting my diagnosis I was forced to switch to Gluten Free pastas. I went through the whole lot trying corn, quinoa, rice, brown rice...Every single one of them tasted like a disgrace to pasta for me. I would sit and eat my plate of gluten free spaghetti and just stare at my boyfriend who was eating his "full of gluten" spaghetti. Sometimes I even caught myself chewing along with him. However, in late June I discovered Tinkyada pasta, which actually is comparable to pasta, although I still missed a good wheat infused penne. Then upon my arrival into Italy I discovered the crown jewel of all gluten free pasta's. It is called Bi-Aglut pasta. It is a combination of both rice and corn, which helps keep its consistency after being cooked. It does not taste like eating rice, nor does it become a mushy glob after being cooked for only 30 seconds longer than needed! I now no longer crave the taste of "real" pasta. I have penne, macaroni, spaghetti, and the list is never ending. I am not sure as to whether you can get Bi-Algut pasta in North America, but here is the website

Now for some recipes...

A couple weeks ago I was staring out my kitchen window across our quaint backyard into the kitchen of an old woman, who I like to call Mama Mia. She was steaming up her windows from the pots of pasta I am sure she had just handmade, while bustling about her kitchen adorned in her Italian pasta apron. I got to daydreaming about Mama Mia's cooking and all the homemade ravioli, manicotti, gnocchi, etc. she would make me if I befriended her. However, I shortly realized that as much as I hope Mama Mia would cook for me, she probably won't, so I will have to become my own Mama Mia. That night I began looking for recipes on how to make gluten free gnocchi. I spent hours researching and finally came up with a gluten free concoction. A couple nights later I had my ingredients, a glass of wine in hopes to bring out the non-existent Italian in me, and a clean counter that I though may just roll out the gnocchi for me! After a half hour of complete experimentation and intuition, I had successfully created ricotta cheese gnocchi, which made me almost cry when I ate it. It was at that moment that I realized I no longer needed Mama Mia to help me and as my boyfriend said "You would make Mama Mia proud!"

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi

~2 large eggs (3 small eggs can be used)
~500 g ricotta cheese
~Salt and Pepper
~Add flour as needed ( I used Bi-Aglut flour, which is comprised of corn starch, potato flour, rice starch, and carob seed flour) GF flour mixes can be used, but must contain starches.

Add ricotta to a mixing bowl and make a divot in the center for the eggs. Add eggs to divot and let the mix sit until it almost reaches room temperature. Then stir ingredients together, add salt and pepper. Once ricotta and eggs are mixed, begin to mix in GF flour. Add flour until you have a doughy consistancy that can be rolled and cut. If you are unsure whether the dough is ready, plop a little piece into bowling water, if the dough stays together and cooks you are ready to roll out the gnocchi. Roll dough around a floured counter, kneading with hands for about a minute or so. Then roll into a big ball and cut into sections, about 4-6 sections. Then take one section and roll out into a long snake piece of dough, the thickness of a finger. You will then cut that piece into 2 inch sections. Take one of the 2 inch sections and roll into a ball with hands, add more flour if it is sticking, then place lightly on the top of the back of a fork (fork should be placed upside down on counter). You will then delicately roll the ball down the back of the fork created ridges and almost a shell shape that helps keep the sauce around the gnocchi. This part is not mandatory, but it creates a nice appearance to the pasta. Repeat this with the remaining 2 inch pieces and the rest of the dough. Then place the gnocchi in bowling water, once the gnocchi rises to the top, they are cooked. Remove them immediately and add sauce of choice.

1 comment:

Alaskan Goddess Mom said...

Hello Gluten Free Alaskan Goddess, it is going to be so much fun to follow your blog as you cook Gluten Free in the land of Mama Mia and Pasta. I will pass on your blog site to Vittorio and Loredana. I'm sure they will enjoy reading about your adventures in their home country. Italian classes are great fun! Eat well in Croatia and have a good time.