Italian cuisine is renowned for its freshly-baked bread, rich and gooey pizzas and of course, it’s delicious fresh pasta. More often than not, recipes for these dishes call for refined wheat. Therefore, people on a gluten-free diet may find Italian food somewhat tricky to navigate. Italy offers such an abundance of unforgettable meals, that it feels almost sacrilegious to limit anyone’s options!
We believe everyone should be able to enjoy classic Italian cooking, regardless of their dietary needs. But what about those looking to make authentic fresh pasta at home? In this article, we’ll be sharing a simple recipe for homemade gluten-free pasta. We will also answer some common questions on how best to make and enjoy gluten-free fresh pasta.
What is gluten-free pasta made out of?
Wheat flour - which contains gluten - was often considered a necessary ingredient in pasta. Increased demand for gluten-free pasta has resulted in an array of quality alternatives. These range from brown rice pasta, to pasta made from chickpeas and quinoa. Most gluten-free fresh pasta recipes call for xanthan gum. In our article What Flour Should I Use for Making Pasta? we briefly touch upon how gluten gives fresh pasta dough its elasticity. Without a gluten substitute, your pasta dough could become crumbly or crack as you knead it. Xanthan gum ensures that your dough is flexible enough to be made into the shape of your choice.
Does gluten-free pasta taste different?
Gluten-free pasta comes in many different varieties, so it’s hard to describe it as having a specific flavour. That being said, a common complaint about gluten-free pasta is that it can taste ever-so-slightly bland.
Fortunately, there is a simple tip to giving gluten-free pasta a slight oomph - add plenty of salt! Looking for a more specific amount? We’d say about 1.5 tbsp for every 500g of fresh pasta. Not all of this salt will be absorbed by your pasta, but it will ensure there’s plenty of flavour.
Also, don’t forget that you’re going to be serving your pasta with a delectable sauce. Why not get inspired by taking a look at some of our sauce recipes. Perhaps you'd like to try a silky and glossy butter sauce or one of our authentic Italian sausage sauces? Once you have your first mouthful, your concerns about flavour will be put to rest!
Is gluten-free pasta healthier for you?
It’s fantastic that people who are sensitive to gluten can enjoy a varied diet of delicious foods! That being said, some view the gluten-free diet as somewhat of a fad. Indeed, many healthy options are also low in gluten, from fruit and vegetables to lean meats and low-fat dairy.
However, we’re often asked if gluten-free pasta is more nutritious or contains fewer calories. The answer to this question is no. Gluten-free pasta can often be lower in fibre and have a higher fat content. So is gluten-free pasta healthier for you? Yes - but only if you are actually sensitive to gluten.
Our Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta Recipe
Preparing Time: 30-45 mins
Cooking Time: 2 mins
Calories: 258 calories per serving
- 200g gluten-free flour (rice flour and cornflour are both dependable and readily available)
- 100ml water or 2 large eggs (use water for pasta bianca or white pasta)
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp xanthan gum (only if your flour doesn’t already contain it)
- Mix together your gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. You can use a food processor for this if you have one.
- Make a mound with your flour. Slowly mix in the water or eggs with the extra virgin olive oil with a fork. Keep mixing until you have a rough dough.
- Roll your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes, until smooth.
- Once this is done, rest your dough for 15-30 minutes before cutting your shapes. Not sure about which fresh pasta shape to go for? We’ve put together a series of helpful guides, so you can hand-craft some of your favourite pasta shapes:
The best way to cook gluten-free pasta
Gluten-free fresh pasta can be cooked in 3-4 minutes or less (if you want your pasta to be al dente). In search of true pasta perfection? We advise you to take a look at our expert guide to cooking fresh pasta.
Our chefs do have one cooking tip: gluten-free pasta is starchier than regular pasta. This means it can create an excess of foam once it's added to boiling water. We suggest you use a big pot, filled to about ⅔ of the way. This will ensure there’s no overflow, which can be quite the hassle to clean up!
Can you freeze and reheat gluten-free pasta?
Unfortunately, it’s not advisable to store gluten-free pasta to be enjoyed at a later date. Many gluten-free pasta shapes are made using either corn or rice, which tend to break down quicker than pasta made with wheat. Because of this, cooking it a second time could lead to some unpleasantly mushy pasta. We suggest you cook as much gluten-free pasta as you can enjoy in a single meal - enjoy being the operative word if you follow our recipe…
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.