Pass the pasta

New gluten-free pasta is almost as good as regular pasta, especially if you add authentic Italian sauce.

Fusilli with broccoli crumble. (photo credit: ASSAF AMBRAM)
Fusilli with broccoli crumble.
(photo credit: ASSAF AMBRAM)
So you have to steer clear of gluten and feel as if you are missing out on all the good stuff? The good news is that some new products make that a little less frustrating.
Barilla’s new gluten-free pasta is almost as good as regular pasta and, with a well-prepared sauce, can be just as satisfying.
The following are recipes created by Italian-born chef Massimiliano Di Matteo, winner of last year’s MasterChef on Channel 2. Of course, these delicious sauces would be great with regular pasta as well.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
✔ 1 package Barilla gluten-free spaghetti
✔ 100 gr. fresh spinach
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 50 gr. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
✔ 100 gr. raw cashews
In a large pot with 5 liters of water, add 1 tsp. salt and the spinach leaves. Cook for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the spinach from the water. Place the dry pasta in the cooking water and cook according to package directions.
To prepare the sauce: In a food processor bowl or a blender, blend the spinach together with the oil until smooth. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.
Toast the cashews on a dry skillet until golden. Remove from the skillet and chop coarsely.
Drain the pasta and place in a mixing bowl. Add the sauce and mix well. Serve the pasta in bowls and garnish each dish with the cashews and Gorgonzola.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
✔ 1 package Barilla gluten-free fusilli
✔ 1 small onion, chopped
✔ 1 large red bell pepper
✔ ¹⁄3 eggplant
✔ ¹⁄3 large zucchini (or ½ medium zucchini)
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ 1 jar tomato-basil pasta sauce
✔ 3 Tbsp. cooking cream
✔ 250 gr. fresh ricotta cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Save ½ cup of the cooking water.
To prepare the sauce: Chop the pepper, zucchini and eggplant into very small cubes.
Pour the oil into a medium-sized pot. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the pepper and cook, mixing for 3 minutes. Then add the zucchini and eggplant. Cook over medium heat while mixing for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and 3 Tbsp. cream. Stir and cook for a few minutes on low heat.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Pour ½ cup of the cooking water, stir and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving dish. Divide into portions and top each plate with fresh ricotta. It is recommended to mash the ricotta first with a potato masher.
✔ 1 package Barilla gluten-free fusilli or other short pasta
✔ 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
✔ ¹⁄3 cup olive oil
✔ 4 dried red peppers, seeds removed
✔ 2 bunches broccoli
✔ 1 cup oil for frying
In a large pot, boil 4 liters of water. Add 1 level Tbsp. of salt and the broccoli. Cook until the broccoli is soft and a fork goes easily into the stem. With a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a plate. Separate the florets and discard the stem.
In a small pot, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and sauté until golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the broccoli florets to the pot and fry the broccoli. Use a fork to crumble the broccoli while frying.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, place the frying oil in another pot and fry the dried red peppers. Fry on low heat for 1 minute. Remove from oil and season with salt.
Transfer the pasta to the pot with the broccoli and pour in ½ cup of the cooking water. Cook for 1 minute while tossing, and transfer to serving dishes. Place the fried peppers on top and serve.
✔ 1 package gluten-free penne
✔ 1 jar arrabbiata sauce
✔ 3 garlic cloves
✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 20 Moroccan olives, pitted
✔ 1 small jar anchovies in oil
✔ Handful capers in vinegar
✔ Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat olive oil in a medium pot. Chop the garlic cloves and sauté. Add the anchovies for a very short fry, and then add the olives and capers. Cook over medium heat until garlic is golden. Watch the garlic carefully, as it burns quickly. Add the sauce from the jar and stir.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Drain and save ½ cup of the cooking water.
Add the ½ cup cooking water to the sauce, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Place the pasta in a serving bowl, pour the sauce on top and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Barilla Pasta and chef Massimiliano Di Matteo.