Pasta is awesome and really yummy – and one of the toughest things to give up when you need to incorporate a new diet into your life. To all my GF friends out there, Ancient Harvest makes great GF pasta products, so if you’re in the mood for mac n cheese or penne arrabiata, don’t despair! Just grab a box at your local supermarket or Trader Joe’s and dig in!
Grown Up (and Gourmet!) Mac n Cheese
Who doesn’t love this dish?! It’s the ultimate comfort food and can be tweaked to make it super gourmet or super kid-friendly… and now, super GF friendly!
- A box of GF pasta – any shape you like!
- A couple chopped jalapenos (if you like spice – if not, omit! Or give each person the option of sprinkling them on their own plate)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons rice flour
- 2.5 cups milk (hemp or soy work also)
- 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup cottage cheese
- Sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (sounds weird, right? But it really brings out the flavors)
- About 2 Tablespoons dry sherry or white wine (optional but delicious!)
- 1 cup GF bread crumbs (Panko is an option, too, but make sure you pick up the GF kind)
- Handful grape tomatoes, chopped
- Dash of dried parsley and basil
Pasta – bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and PARTIALLY cook the pasta – just until it is very al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). This is important, because you’ll bake this in the oven, too, so we don’t want to overcook it! Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it quickly under cold water. Set aside.
While this is cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and whisk in the rice flour. Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and milk. Bring the mixture to a bubble (it will thicken as it heats) then reduce the heat to low. Add the cheddar, cottage cheese, sea salt, mustard, nutmeg and stir to blend. Add the sherry or wine. Continue stirring the sauce until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a baking dish, combine the cooked pasta with the chopped jalapenos.
Pour the hot cheese sauce over the pasta and gently combine. Sprinkle with gluten-free breadcrumbs, halved grape tomatoes and dried basil.
(For individual gratin dishes, combine the pasta with the jalapenos in the drained pasta pot; add the cheese sauce; combine; then spoon it into the gratin dishes. Top with crumbs and tomatoes and sprinkle with dried basil.)
Bake at 350ºF for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and heated through.
(You can omit the sherry/wine and jalapenos if the kiddos aren’t into it – but encourage them to give it a try, I think they’ll dig it!)
This is a spicy one – arrabiata means ‘angry’ in Italian and gets its name from the heat of the chili peppers.
- Box of gluten-free penne pasta
- 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 pint Roma tomatoes, diced (a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with spicy chiles will work, too)
- a small chopped roasted green or red chile (or more, if you can handle it!)
- Hot red chile pepper flakes, to taste
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- A splash or two of balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne until it is al dente- tender but still slightly firm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat; add the onion; stir and cook until softened. Add the chopped garlic; stir and cook for a minute.
Add in the diced tomatoes, chopped chiles, red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and keep on a low simmer while you boil the penne pasta.
When the penne is ready, drain it and pour it into the skillet.
Drizzle the cooked penne with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Toss the penne gently to coat it in the Arrabiata sauce.
Serve in warm bowls. Sprinkle generously with shredded Parmesan cheese and some fresh chopped parsley.
Looking for more g-free pasta options, try this Alla Checca recipe I cooked for Tori.
What’s the best GF pasta you’ve tried? Please share below!