GF Pasta


As I mentioned in my last post, I have been awaiting an opportunity to try a number of recipes from Living Without Magazine.  I have had fresh pasta exactly twice since going Gluten-Free and both were delicious.  First, I had homemade corn pasta at Cafe DeVille in Edmonton, AB and second I had homemade rice pasta at Pagliacci’s in Victoria, BC ever since then, I have wanted to try and make my own.

I followed the instructions for Gluten-Free Handmade Pasta exactly as they are listed, using the flax seed egg replacement (so that I could share with my little man who doesn’t eat egg whites yet), however I didn’t have the patience to go over to my parents to borrow their pasta maker.  Instead, after reading a bunch of ravioli recipes, I decided to divide the dough and roll it out as thin as possible using a rolling pin between pieces of saran wrap.  This worked reasonably well, but I need a LOT of extra cornstarch to ensure the dough didn’t stick and to be able to transfer it to parchment paper.

I rolled each piece into an elongated rectangle and then placed 3-4 teaspoons of filling (depending how well I rolled the pasta) in a row along the pasta sheet, dabbed watered down egg yolk around each dollop of filling and then folded the dough over, gently pressing the dough together.  I did not use a fork or anything fancy to mark the edges, I just used my fingertips and the dough stayed together well through the cooking process.

The end result was delicious, if a bit chewy, however I’m pretty sure that if I had rolled my pasta thinner using a pasta machine that chewiness may not have been an issue.  I’m also positive that the ravioli was delicious and as good as I could have hoped for considering that it was my first attempt EVER to make pasta.  I did have to cook the pasta for a good 15 minutes, flipping the ravioli a few times, which is considerably longer than I expected based on the recipe citing the noodles would cook within a few minutes.

All in all, a good recipe and a delicious meal…and my little boy liked it too!!  Good luck making pasta, I hope yours also turns out great.

As for filling, I decided to make my own up, here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • ~3 oz of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
  • ~1/4 onion diced fine
  • 3/4 of a 500g package of feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat, until no longer pink.
  2. Add onion and chopped spinach, and ook until the onions have softened and the turkey is fully cooked.
  3. Remove meat mixture from heat and stir in the cheeses (I had goat cheese on hand and it really helped hold everything together, you could also add one egg yolk.)
  4. Use to fill your homemade ravioli and enjoy!!

ps. I also used the leftover filling on a pizza!! Yum yum!

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My little man had his first fever and cold/flu this weekend and its been lurking for a while, so I’ve been busy.  I have some recipes I’m hoping to post soon, but for now I just wanted to talk a little bit about eating out.

When I first went gluten-free I didn’t eat anywhere and I didn’t eat anything.  But slowly that has evolved.  I now have certain meals that I eat at certain restaurants (including the mall food fair) that I know satisfy my hunger and cravings without wrecking havoc on my body.

I first visited Cravings when I still ate gluten and was impressed; the restaurant (which used to be a sandwich deli in another lifetime) had a great atmosphere, helpful servers and delicious food.  Nestled in among old apartment buildings it seemed a rare find.

I went back for my 27th birthday, I was now gluten-free, but noticed that their website mentioned that they were able to accomodate Celiac’s.  When I made the reservation I indicated that I would like to take advantage of their gluten-free options.  When we arrived I was a little dissapointed that no one seemed to know what I was talking about when I mentioned that I had requested gluten-free items, but the situation was quickly remedied.  A woman, I assume was a manager or owner, came to the table and walked me through the menu; she let me know which items were naturally gluten-free and which items could be made gluten-free.  I enjoyed the West Coast Bouillabaisse (“A selection of West coast seafood (salmon, sole, halibut, ma hi ma hi, prawns, shrimps, scallops, and mussel) cooked in a tomato broth flavoured with saffron”) and it was absolutely delicious.

My husband and I went back again this September for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary; our first “date night” since the arrival of our son.  This time when I arrived and asked about gluten-free menu items the server quickly rushed off and brought me back a “Celiac Menu”.  There was an entire page of options and they all sounded delicious; having a specific menu gave me some confidence that the food would not be contaminated that the chefs knew what they were doing.

This time I enjoyed the Roasted Squash Salad (“Roasted squash served warm with spinach leaves, carmalized pecans, and crumbled Feta, drizzled with honey vinaigrette and balsamic reduction”) and rice pasta pesto (rice pasta “and chicken breast strips tossed in fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan”).  The only thing that could have made it better was fresh pasta, but despite being dried pasta it still tasted WAY better than pasta I make at home.  We practically rolled out of the restaurant and into the movie theatre.

All is all, Cravings is a great gem of a restaurant that was able to provide a menu of delicious gluten-free options, a warm atmosphere and helpful service.  We went for an early dinner around 5pm, but by around 6 it was starting to get busy, so you may want to make reservations if you aren’t normally in bed by 9:30pm like I am.

I have never been much for pasta, however I have always loved Lasagna.  As a child, on those special days when my family ordered out and my Mom wanted pizza, my Dad would always order lasagna – I always ate with Dad. 

When I started eating gluten-free, pasta was NOT one of the foods that I cried over losing; it was almost irrelevant.  Almost – I have tried corn pasta, which I don’t mind, however I much prefer Tinkyada and have since learned to give it a good rinse in cool water when I’m finished cooking it.

That being said, I do suffer the occasional craving for pasta and now that I eat the GF variety, I can even manage to eat an entire serving.

Inspired by a co-workers recent chickpea lasagna (sans tomato sauce), the delicious gluten-free lasagna my mother-in-law made Just For Me, and the enormous bowl of chickpea’s that Shauna inspired me to cook, I decided it was time to experiment.  I am suprisingly happy with this dish on it’s first try – if you are able to tweak the recipe and make it even better, be sure and leave a comment and let me know what worked.

Although my husband is agreeable with a fair amount of Gluten-Free eating, if it doesn’t pose too much trouble I will occasionally make two seperate dishes.  In the case of pasta, I have taken to baking in two loaf pans, using the same fillings, but different noodles to accomodate us both.  If the quantities below seem odd – keep this in mind. 

 

Gluten-Free Chickpea Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • Half a box of Tinkyada lasagna noodles
  • Half jar of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups cooked Chickpeas*
  • Half box of frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 cup cottage cheese**
  • 1 tsp herbamere seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese***

*You can substitute canned chickpeas – you may not need the whole can
**Ricotta would have been delicious, but I didn’t have any on hand
***I used a mozzarella/edam mix

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package – remove from water a few minutes early to avoid mushy noodles. 
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease a large loaf pan.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl, mix the chickpeas and pasta sauce.
  4. Drain spinach and place in a medium bowl with ricotta cheese and sprinkle with herbamere. Mix well.
  5. Once cooked, drain noodles and rinse with cool water.
  6. Cover bottom of loaf pan with cooked noodles.
  7. Spoon 2/3 of chickpea mixture onto noodles, sprinkle lightly with grated cheese.
  8. Cover with a layer of cooked noodles.
  9. Spoon 2/3 of spinach mixture over noodles, sprinkle lightly with grated cheese.
  10. Cover with a layer of cooked noodles.
  11. Spoon remaining chickpea mixture over noodles then layer remaining spinach mixture on top.  Sprinkle lightly with grated cheese.
  12. Cover with a layer of cooked noodles – if you have any remaining pasta sauce, spoon it on top
  13. Cover with remaining cheese and bake for about 30 minutes until is brown and bubbly.
  14. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving!

yield: 3 generous servings