Gluten-free Penne Alfredo at Pepperoni's in Duluth, GA

Gluten-free Penne Alfredo at Pepperoni's in Duluth, GA

These days there are so many gluten-free pastas on the market that it’s not hard to find them – it’s  just tough to choose which one you like best. We like Andean Dream and Le Veneziane pastas best but no matter what pasta you like, there are tons of great dishes to use it in. There are entire cookbooks devoted to pasta recipes. Many of the recipes don’t call for gluten ingredients except for the pasta, of course.

Mainstream magazines seem to be full of pasta recipes and most of them don’t call for any gluten ingredients except for the pasta. Therefore, they are some of the easiest recipes to convert to being gluten-free. The Martha Stewart Pasta Cake recipe is out of this world delicious and we love making it in the dead of winter. One thing to remember is that if you don’t have a really delicious gluten-free pasta, you’ll want to use a recipe with a heavier or strong flavored sauce. Those types of sauces can compensate for a so-so quality pasta being used in the dish.

If a recipe calls for a small amount of wheat flour, rice flour or another all purpose gluten-free flour will work in place of it. There are so many ready made gluten-free pasta sauces available that you could use a different one every night for a month and still not try them all. Most of the sauces are sold in mainstream grocery stores. An easy pasta meal requires cooked pasta, a sauce and optional veggies or meats. Add a fresh green salad and you have a complete and fairly well rounded gluten-free meal.

If you don’t have a pasta cookbook handy, have no fear. We’ve found some killer pasta recipes online from various blogs and recipe websites.

When I hear people talk about not being able to have pasta anymore, I’m kind of perplexed. It’s true that not everyone can find gluten-free pasta available when dining out, but most towns and cities has a store (or several) that sells gluten-free pasta. Additionally, you can buy many different gluten-free pasta products at Amazon.com and the Gluten Free Trading Company. Therefore we can all enjoy our favorite pasta dishes, just like we did when we ate gluten. If one isn’t a gourmet chef, they can usually still boil water to cook pasta, drain it and pour a ready-made sauce over it. Newman’s Own and Amy’s both make some exceptional restaurant quality pasta sauces and every prepared pesto sauce I’ve found to date is gluten-free. Traditional Ragu sauce is gluten-free and is often on a “buy one get one free” promotion in our area.

In this new year with unknown possibilities, let’s focus on all the great things that happened in 2009 for our market and also on all the fabulous foods we can enjoy. Pasta is something wonderful that we don’t have to give up just because we can’t eat gluten and to quote Martha, that is a very good thing indeed!