A number of you have written to us, asking how to cook gluten-free pasta. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? Just follow the directions on the package?
Strangely, a number of the gluten-free pasta packages I have seen list some wacky method for cooking the pasta by letting it sit in hot water for 20 minutes or tell you to cook it for far too long. One bite of pasta that falls apart on your tongue might make some people think of eating gluten again.
Don’t eat gluten because you miss pasta. Great pasta can still be yours.
We used Jovial brown rice pasta for this video, because we are convinced it is the best gluten-free pasta on the market. (And that’s why we chose to work with them as a sponsor for this site.) But last week we tried this with a couple of other brands, just to make sure it works. It does!
The trick at the end — letting the pasta sit in the bowl with the sauce for 5 minutes — is pretty key. We learned this when we were in Italy. This resting allows the starches to fully release from the pasta and into the sauce, which helps to hold everything together.
(In the video, we were cooking spaghetti, which took 11 minutes. Penne takes more like 10 minutes. Fusilli might take about the same. Be sure to taste the pasta you are cooking, a few minutes before you think it’s done, so you will know for yourself how long it should cook.)
HOW TO COOK GLUTEN-FREE PASTA
There you go. It’s easier than you think!
(And if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, where we’ll be happy to answer them.)
Make some pasta for dinner tonight.
Why all the videos lately?
Danny and I want to take a moment to share why things have shifted around here a bit.
We are both honored to be creating this site, to do work that seems to really mean something to so many of you. For many of the years we have been here, the site has been mostly writing, with photos and recipes. And the occasional video.
Lately, however, we’re both aware of how many people come to this site for the first time and leave feeling hopeful but wanting something more. Some of you might like the stories and writing. But many of you might wish we’d cut to the chase a bit. Your stories are nice but I just want to learn how to cook for my family. We’re bombarded by emails, asking the practical questions we rarely address here on the site. How do I put together your flour mix? What should the bread dough look like? I don’t know how to cook. Can you help me?
Here’s part of an email I received the other day, one I seem to get nearly every day. (Hi, Emily!)
“Pre-life without gluten, I ate convineience food and lived in restaurants. My kitchen was always the cleanest room in the house because it never got used. Additionally, having grown up in a household which served only microwave meals, I’d never had a use for pots, pans, or knives. After I was diagnosed, I cried. I would never be able to eat as carelessly as I had before. Meals would require foresight. Eww.
The first time I tired to cook something, I cut my finger so bad I needed 10 stitches. I took it as a sign and bought every gluten free microwave dinner I could find.
I’ve gotten better since those troubled first weeks. Heck, I even own a Dutch oven now. But I have loads of questions regarding basics like how to cut, and what diced food really looks like. How do I know what texture a particular flour will give in a recipe? How do I know I have cooked something enough so I don’t give myself or my husband salmonella—which I have done. I am caught in a purgatory where I am afraid to cook or eat what I cook. Any suggestions on how to get these basics????”
Emily, these videos are for you. And for the rest of you too.
Danny and I are lucky enough to be working with Debra and Rod Smith, who run the wonderful Smith Bites Photography. They’ve taught us what mic to buy so you can actually hear Danny now. They are teaching us about video basics. And they are editing our videos, giving them a far more professional polish (with soul) than we could ever do on our own. These people — some of the best we know. If you are interested in learning about how to shoot videos or need someone to help you edit, these are the two.
So, here’s what we’re going to do.
I’m still going to write. I can’t stop that. With our schedules of creating cookbooks, developing recipes for other places, speaking and teaching? I can’t write more than one recipe post a week anyway! Once a week, you’ll find a new meandering story, lyrical and imperfect, sometimes funny, with a recipe. That’s the food we’re making, what interests us right now. And on another day of the week, I’ll be putting up a little post like this one, a little story about us gathering at the table to eat something new, something Danny or I made up on the spot. Even without a recipe, we hope it will inspire you to cook.
Twice a week, you’ll find videos. Mostly, they’ll star Danny. (This website is called Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, after all. For the past couple of years, when he was working in the restaurant, the and the Chef part was somewhat absent.) He has a wealth of knowledge that still astounds me and he wants to share it with you. One video a week will be a recipe, focusing on something simple and delicious, a dish you can get on the table quickly and still enjoy that meal fully. The other video will be about an ingredient, a technique, a vegetable that has just come into season that is inspiring us.
And we hope this will all inspire you to cook. That’s what it’s all about: cooking. eating. sharing. the gathering.
So, if you will, subscribe to our YouTube channel! We want to build a library of useful, silly videos there.
We’re in the midst of re-designing the site with a website team we trust. Look for this site to be even more beautiful and useful somewhere in the fall.
And wait until you see what we have planned for Thanksgiving.
After seven years of creating this site, I’m excited that things have shifted. It keeps us both interested to check in with ourselves and you, to do what we love in a way that makes sense to us now and hopefully helps you as well. We’re growing.
Also, we love this work. We’re having a blast together.
p.s. We’d love to hear from you. What do you want to see? What technique would you like demonstrated? What kinds of recipes would you like us to create? What gluten-free baked goods would you like to see made, instead of reading about them? GO!