For the most part, I haven’t missed many foods since I went gluten free years ago. Usually I can adapt whatever I’m craving into a gluten free version without much difference, like pizza (using the crust recipe from Artisan Pizza in Five Minutes a Day), casseroles and even donuts.
But there’s one thing I’ve been longing for: the silky handmade tagliatelle from Cossetta’s, made by the hands of elderly Italian women, who roll out the dough each day the same as they’ve done for the past 70 years.
I’m longing no more, all thanks to my friend Robin Asbell and her new cookbook, Gluten-Free Pasta. Since last fall when her and I spoke about the hours upon hours she was perfecting the different dough recipes, I’ve been so excited to try her final version. After a few days “cooking the book”, I can attest that the results of her work are simply brilliant.
When I began rolling out the dough into thin sheets of fresh pasta, I nearly wept with joy. As I put the sheets through the machine once again, perfect strands of tagliatelle fell into my flour dusted hands like magic.
Robin’s base recipe for fresh pasta calls for a combination of tapioca flour, millet flour, sweet rice flour, and arrowroot starch, each having their own purpose in creating a texture that mimics regular pasta in the closest way possible.
The addition of whey powder (which you can find at co-ops or health stores) or dried milk powder adds protein, which gives the dough strength in the absence of gluten.
A combination of guar guam and xanthum gum give the pasta structure and firmness when boiled.
This may seem like quite a few ingredients to have on hand, but they’re essential in stocking a gluten free pantry so its buying them. You’ll definitely use them in other gluten free recipes if you don’t already. Plus, once you try this glorious pasta you’ll be headed back to the kitchen to make another batch.
Although making fresh pasta, gluten free or not, does take some time, tasting the finished product knowing that it was my hands that did the work provides for an amazingly satisfying experience. I know not everyone feels the same way though, and so did Robin, which is why any of the recipes (over 100!) can be made with store bought gluten free (or regular) pasta. My favorite is Tinkyada, which you can find pretty much everywhere.
Additionally there’s instruction and recipes for creating vegetable noodles with zucchini, squash, or even collard greens, as well as another creative pasta substitute – “egg crepes” that can be used as cannelloni or sliced into strands.
I’ve also posted a gluten-free ravioli with this base recipe, too!
from Gluten Free Pasta by Robin Asbell
makes 3 1/2 cups (will make more than what is needed for this recipe – reserve leftovers for up to a week or cut recipe in half which is what I did)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of vodka
2 (28 ounce) cans of whole tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup creme fraiche (I used greek yogurt)
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
In medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat for a minute. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and saute until onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add whole tomatoes, crushing them roughly with your hans. Add the vodka and salt and bring to boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook uncovered until sauce is almost dry, about 30 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Then add in creme fraiche and blend again to combine. Toss with hot pasta and the the Romano cheese, plus a little basil for garnish.