It’s cold in Mississippi, the kind of cold we aren’t use to seeing, and I am stuck in the house. When I am house bound due to cold, I cook. I cook because the heat from the oven helps to warm my home and I cook because, well, we are comfort food kind of people. One of the issues with living gluten free is pasta. You can find pasta on the grocery shelf, and it’s nice, but I have never been a boxed kind of pasta girl, mastering the art of gluten free pasta was one of my first missions. The nice thing about basic pasta is you can turn it into so many meals. Our pick for a cold day is ravioli, so I am including a recipe for that as well. Fear not, if you are kitchen supply poor and don’t have a pasta machine, ravioli press, or fancy cutter, a simple rolling pin and pizza wheel will work. Enjoy.
Gluten Free Pasta
- 2 1/2 cups of gluten free flour. By this I mean a blend, not just one thing like rice flour. You can use a bread mix you have on hand, or a blend designed for gluten free baking. If you mix your own flours, make sure you use one you have added xanthan gum to, this will help make your pasta easier to handle.
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 5 eggs plus the yoke of one egg, if you eggs are large you may skip the extra yoke unless the dough is too dry to work with.
Place everything into a food processor and pulse until well blended and looks like dough. No food processor? Use a mixer if possible with a dough hook.
Once blended place on a well floured surface, and kneed a few times by folding, pressing down, refolding. You want it to look like bread dough, not be crumbly or wet, add flour if needed or the extra egg yoke if crumbly. See how many times you can kneed this with a child screaming, “Mommie look” or the dog scratching at the back door. Wrap in plastic wrap or set in a bowl and cover and set aside. Go watch the child or walk the dog. Gluten free pasta needs it’s rest time. Don’t panic about leaving it.
Now that the dough has rested, and you are reading to make something, you can use this for basic pasta, or fill for ravioli. Regardless the rolling out will be the same. If you have a pasta machine, follow manufacture directions as you would for wheat pasta. No, okay, go find a rolling pin, don’t have one, tip of the day, if you have a wooden paper towel holder, just use the paper towel holder pin, handy and hidden all along. Locate a pizza cutting wheel or sharp knife. Dust a cutting area well with gluten free flour. To save money, I usually dust with one flour that’s not too expensive, the mission is not to let the dough stick, so you don’t really have to use you expensive bread mix flour if you don’t want to.
Now place in the center of your dusted area. Roll, dust your rolling pin as needed. You want this to be thin, but not paper thin. For lasagna or ravioli keep it a bit thick, about the thickness of a nickel. For basic noodles, cut into strips, lasagna, wide strips, ravioli, you want strips wide enough to fill on one side, and fold in half to seal closed. You choice how big. My family likes large well stuffed ravioli and we serve about 3 or4 large pieces. When my kids were small I made tiny pockets to look like the out of a can type. No rules, it’s your house!
Set aside and cover. For noodles with a sauce, cook and serve. Choose a large pot so pasta can move freely while boiling. Place a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan, turn to coat. Add water until pot is about 3/4 full and salt, bring to a boil. Once boiling drop pasta piece at a time into the boiling water, let cook for a few minutes until it floats to the top. Sample one to see if it’s to your liking. If so remove and pour into a colander and drain. Cover with a sauce of your choosing, and serve.
One of the reasons I love to make ravioli is it is a no rules dish. You can fill with left over meats and veggies, top with pasta sauce out of a jar for a busy day or make any style sauce from white chicken stock to simply serving with herbs and drizzled warm olive oil. For help, I am including a couple of ideas.
Half a pound of chicken. You can buy fresh, brown it in olive or coconut oil and break a part in a food processor, chose canned chicken, or boil your choice of chicken pieces. I personally I buy what is on sale, organic range free and keep on hand in the freezer. I am cheap, if I cook a chicken I divide it into more than one meal, using it in pot pies and casseroles. On a cold day I’ll boil and process a couple of birds to have on hand.
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground back pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter, or coconut oil
- cheese of your choice
- Switch out chicken for ground beef or a mix of ground beef and sausage, this is where I love left overs!
Blend well, you can pulse in a food processor. Add your choice of cheese at this point, you will need 3 tablespoons full. If you are casein free, casein free cheese works very well, I like the no dairy cream cheese in this.
Once mixed, place a spoonful on one end of the ravioli strip, wet the pasta slightly with water, fold and pinch press closed on all sides. Keep repeating this process until all the meat mixture is used up.
Now boil in salt water, preparing pan as listed above. Filled pasta is done when if floats on the top of the water. Stir well to make sure no pieces are stuck to each other and are fully cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Serve with marinara sauce or a white sauce made from chicken broth. Top with cheese if you wish.
Again make a head, can, freeze or store in your refrigerator for a couple of days. This is a basic recipe, that you can tweak with the herbs and spices you want when you get ready to turn it into a main dish.
32 ounces of canned tomatoes, or about 2 and a half pounds fresh, with the skin removed. To remove the skin, drop into boiling water, let the skin split. Remove and cool in chilled water. The skins will slide right off.
Chop tomatoes in food processor.
Using a quarter cup of olive or coconut oil brown one finely chopped small onion and a clove of garlic in a pan until onion is clear. Add to this one thinly chopped celery stalk, one skinned and finely chopped carrot, brown a few minutes, add the tomatoes, place on the back of the stove and let simmer for at least one hour. Good just as it is or toss in fresh chopped herbs before serving.