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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cooking Gluten Free Pastas!

Gluten-Free Pasta -Tricks of the Trade- How To Buy, Cook, and Prepare noodles without Wheat or Gluten
Pasta for me was the most missed food, next to bread, when I went Wheat Free. I think I can help you learn how to buy, cook, and enjoy gluten-free pasta. Rice, Corn, Or Quinoa? Most gluten-free pastas are made from rice, corn, or quinoa. I have to say, that rice is my favorite!
· Rice pasta is one of the most easily accessible. It tends to absorb other flavors, which works especially well in dishes like baked ziti or macaroni and cheese.
· Corn pasta tastes a bit like a cross between popcorn and spaghetti. I love corn so I enjoy the great flavor of this pasta.
· Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”), a grain notably once popular among the ancient Inca, is a complete source of protein. That means it contains all the amino acids that the body doesn’t produce on its own. This gives it a nutritional edge. Unfortunately, my kids weren’t a fan of its unique flavor.
Note: Spelt and kamut are varieties of wheat that are sometimes misleadingly marketed as wheat alternatives. Although some people can tolerate spelt and kamut better than other varieties of wheat, people with wheat allergies, and those on a gluten-free diet, need to avoid these products. Now remember, quality and texture of gluten-free pasta can vary from brand to brand, so test several kinds for your family till you find one you really like. Your kids will be the perfect test kitchens!
Shapes and Sizes: Gone are the days when gluten-free pasta only came in one type of noodle. You can now find gluten-free spaghetti, angel hair, lasagna, rotini, shells, spirals, linguine, elbows, and even fun shapes like animals. I am not a big fan of the prepared ones, like Mac and cheese, my kids, haven’t liked the cheese flavor of any brand to date. My homemade version is still the winner.
Where To Buy: Most Health food stores often have sections devoted to gluten-free pastas. Large grocery stores may also carry them. My favorite store to purchase rice pasta, is Trader Joes, they have a large variety, and great prices! If you don’t have a health food store or section in your area, you can order gluten-free pasta online.
How to Cook:
Make sure and follow the cook times on the package. It definatley takes longer to cook rice pasta than the others, but make sure not to over cook it. If it says to cook for 15 minutes, start checking the pasta at approx 12 minutes, when it is somewhat easy (aldente) to cut with a fork, it is ready, make sure and rinse the pasta, and leave it in the colander until ready to use. I have found that adding it to the prepared sauce on the stove and cooking it together for a few minutes, cooks the pasta a little further making it perfecto!

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