Now no-one is going to chance upon these recipes and think ‘Good Lord! I can finally have pasta again!’. These days even the dingiest supermarket will have some kind of gluten free pasta on their shelves (the best is Salute from Waitrose, in case you’re wondering). But still, if you’re thinking of making your own ravioli, lasagne or even just for a special occasion, it’s a good recipe to have in the arsenal.
Rather than start from scratch, I thought I’d try out two very different recipes. The first is from Shauna James Ahern of glutenfreegirl.com, which has the rare benefit of being an American recipe that gives the ingredients by weight, rather than volume. The second is from Michela Chiappa, a Welsh-Italian (or perhaps Italian-Welsh) cook who presented the show Simply Italian on Channel 4.
GLUTEN FREE FRESH PASTA – THE RECIPES
1. Gluten Free American Girl
Find the recipe here, about a third of the way down the page. Marvel at the pretty pictures as you scroll.
You may get stuck with the first ingredient here, but soldier on. Contrary to what you might think, ‘Garbanzo-Fava’ is not the owner of an Italian circus but a type of flour made from Chickpeas and Broad Beans (to us Brits). You can try Gram flour, available at most large supermarkets, or you can buy the real thing from Amazon here. I used Sorghum flour instead of Millet because this is what I had in the cupboard – it is very similar to Millet flour, so use whichever you can get. Shauna’s recipe uses psyllium husk powder because she is intolerant to xantham gum; 2tsp of xantham gum would be a fine substitute.
2. Gluten Free Italian-Welsh Girl
The recipe is here, or if Channel 4 remove it try here instead. It is a much simpler affair than the one above, both for technique and ingredients. I used potato starch rather than potato flour – you would think there wouldn’t be a difference, but gluten free aficionados go all wide eyed and gapey mouthed when you tell them you’ve substituted one with the other. Happily it turned out fine (and particularly stretchy), as you’ll see below. I don’t think I dusted it with Polenta either, shame on me.
GLUTEN FREE FRESH PASTA – THE PROCESS
I had planned to use a pasta machine for both of these, but it was not to be. Recipe 1 wouldn’t work at all in the pasta machine, while Recipe 2 went down to a certain thickness then started developing lace-like holes all over it:
So I put the machine away (and considered consigning it to the charity shop), and got to work with a rolling pin. You may find that the dough actually benefits from rolling a few times and folding over before you start rolling it as thin as you can; it seems to make the mixture a little more flexible. And make sure you really do roll it thin – I made a second batch paying less attention to how thin it was, forgetting that the pasta almost doubles in thickness when boiled. Fat white worms, that’s all I’m saying.
GLUTEN FREE FRESH PASTA – THE RESULTS
Both were relatively easy to make, though I found Michela Chiappa’s recipe generally easier, both for the ease of sourcing ingredients and also the dough was better to work with; it took more effort to get Shauna’s dough as thin as it needed to be.
The tastes were unique; Recipe 2 was a more neutral taste that picked up a simple black pepper and olive oil dressing very well. I think it would go well with light recipes, seafood and the like. Shauna’s had more flavour and was more robust, it would stand up well to a strong tomato sauce or a fiery Arrabbiata.
My preference? I’d probably go for Michela Chiappa’s recipe. It was the quickest and easiest, and although I quite liked the flavour of Shauna’s, I think this a more versatile option. I might try to tailor the recipe in future, at the very least to try and give it a little more colour.