Archives for posts with tag: pasta

It’s been a busy week, what with keeping up with my son’s social life, seeing my second guest post at LiveGlutenFree going live last Friday and going out to (gluten-free!) dinner with my husband (sans bébé for the first time in 16 months!) on Saturday.

I talked a couple of posts ago about the troubles I had coming up with a recipe for my second post for LiveGlutenFree. Well, it all came out in the wash and I created a caramelized red onion and goat’s cheese tart in a thyme crust. It was even a hit with my toddler! Do stop by the blog to have a look at the recipe.

My husband and I were given a voucher for a dinner for two at a hotel in Cheltenham for Christmas by my elder sister, Kim, and her family. We’ve only just got around to using it because procuring the services of a trustworthy babysitter in a town you’ve only just moved to is quite a big ask. But the voucher was nearing its expiry date and Kim told me in no uncertain terms that if we didn’t use it, we’d have to manufacture a very believable account of a fantasy meal that we’d ‘eaten’ or else… Not one willing to stir the wrath of Khan Kim, I procured a babysitter toute suite.

I’ve talked already about the problems of eating out when you’re gluten-free. Now I’m going to talk about the successes. Unfortunately, they come with a price tag. The two most enjoyable meals out that I’ve had since being gluten-free have been in 4 star hotels: the first for my ‘significant’ birthday this year at the Barceló Hotel in Oxford and the second, this last weekend at Parker’s Restaurant at The Hotel on the Park in Cheltenham. This should come as no surprise – the more you pay, the less likely processed food is to make a shifty appearance – everything is cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. I could eat most things on the menu, i.e. the ones that if you cooked them at home, they would naturally be gluten-free anyway, and the restaurants, on both occasions, provided me with gluten-free bread (although the waiter in Oxford DID have to be educated not to serve gluten and gluten-free bread in the same basket…) So, what did I have? A beautiful starter of seared scallops with lardons and carrot and cumin purée, followed by a delicious piece of slow-cooked lamb on a bed of potatoes Lyonnaise and peas and bacon, followed by crème brûlée (without its accompanying almond tuile). Scrump-shuss.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d far rather eat out less frequently at higher-end restaurants with a good choice and not have such a big fear of cross-contamination than more frequently at cheaper eateries where gluten-free often means the ‘choice’ of half of one thing on the menu that’s had the other glutenicious half unceremoniously scraped off by surly waiting staff…

Gluten-free smoked mackerel and lemon ravioli with a parsley and chive butter

My tips for making gluten-free ravioli can be found here. But the challenge and also the charm of gluten-free cooking and baking is that you’re always learning on the job. So in addition to those tips, I would add: make sure that you have floured fingers when sealing the ravioli – this will prevent the top layer of pasta sticking to your fingers and unsealing itself. When cutting the ravioli, use repeated downward strokes rather than pulling the knife as you are likely to snag the pasta.

Smoked mackerel is probably not the most conventional or authentic filling for ravioli but it was absolutely delicious. Even if I say so myself!

Serves 3 (makes 40-50 ravioli)

For the pasta:
160g plain (all-purpose) gluten-free flour
20g cornflour (cornstarch)
2/3 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt (optional)
2 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
cold water

For the filling:
250g smoked mackerel (skinned weight)
2 tbsp ricotta
zest and juice half a lemon
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for sealing the ravioli)

For the sauce:
75g butter (or low-fat butter alternative)
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped chives

You will also need a pasta-rolling machine

First, make the pasta. Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of the food processor. Blitz for a couple of seconds to mix the flours and break up any lumps. Add the two eggs and the oil. Blitz again to combine and gradually add a little cold water through the funnel until you have a soft dough.

Tip the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead into a ball. It should be soft and ever so slightly sticky to the touch*. Now wrap the ball in clingfilm to keep the pasta from drying out.

Give the inside of the food processor a wipe around with a damp cloth. Blitz all of the ingredients for the filling until you have a smooth paste.

Working with one small, plum-sized piece of pasta at a time, roll the dough out on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin until it is a few millimetres thick. Passing the dough just once through each thickness setting, starting at 2 and ending 6, roll the piece through the machine**. Make sure you carefully support its weight with your free hand. You’re looking for a strip at least 6cm wide – the length will vary so it doesn’t really matter.

Lay the strip horizontally on the work surface and trim the top and bottom long sides with a sharp knife so that the pasta is 5½ – 6cm deep. Place teaspoonfuls of filling at about 5cm intervals. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white around each spoonful of filling. This will stick the pasta together. Roll another pasta strip to go over the top: dust your fingers with flour and, starting from the left (I’m right-handed), gently drape and press this pasta strip around the first mound of filling, making sure that it is sealed all the way around. Go on to the next mound of filling and continue until you have used up the pasta strip. Minor tears can be mended by smoothing them over with a little egg white on a pastry brush.  Cut the ravioli into squares with a sharp knife and gently lift away the surplus pasta. Gently lift the ravioli on to a plate (I use a palette knife to ease them from the work surface). The ravioli can be covered with clingfilm and refrigerated until needed. Scrunch the surplus pasta up again and add to it, if needed, to get a plum-sized ball.  Re-roll and continue making ravioli until all the filling is used up.

When you are ready to cook the ravioli, put a large pan of lightly-salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small frying pan (skillet), simply melt the butter and add the chopped herbs. Leave to heat through gently whilst cooking the ravioli.

Cook the ravioli in two or three batches. As soon as you put the ravioli in the boiling water, put the lid of the saucepan on to help the water come back up to the boil quickly and time them for 2½ minutes. Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon held over a wad of kitchen paper and put in a warmed bowl. Repeat with the second and third batch. Dress with the parsley and chive butter.

*If the dough is sticking, flour the work surface and knead the ball of dough. Then break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces to distribute the flour more evenly, tip back onto the surface and knead into a ball. Likewise, if the dough is too hard and dry, break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces and add a little more water. Once it has come together again, tip back out onto the work surface and knead.

** The sheet will have slightly raggedy edges. This is to be expected. If there are numerous holes, scrunch the ball of dough up and reroll. If the dough disintegrates as it goes through the rollers, it is probably too dry. See *

Advertisements

This ravioli recipe is a development of the tagliatelle from my last post. I’ve been tinkering with the flour-to-starch ratio for the tagliatelle for quite some time because there is a delicate balance to be found between enough starch to give the pasta a modicum of elasticity but not too much that it becomes gummy and chewy. I’ve found that you can get away with less starch in a tagliatelle recipe than in a ravioli or tortellini one because you’re not moulding it and if the strands break in half, it really doesn’t matter. I had previously tried using this recipe for tortellini and the pasta just wasn’t playing ball. So I’ve added a bit more cornflour and perhaps a smidgen more water and it seems to work.

Obviously, gluten-free pasta is neither as giving nor as forgiving as its glutenicious cousin. In fact, it can be a temperamental little diva at times, stamping its foot, folding its arms and pursing its lips, so it needs humouring and handling with kid gloves. When forming the ravioli, there are a couple of things to watch out for. When laying the top sheet down over the filling, don’t put the whole sheet down in one go. If you do, you run the risk of it snagging and pulling on the other mounds of filling. Make sure you keep the rest of the pasta strip supported on one hand and only seal one raviolo at a time with the other hand.

You are also supposed to ensure that all the air is extracted because when the ravioli are in the boiling water, the air expands inside them and they run the risk of bursting. The trouble with gluten-free pasta is that the more you prod it and the longer it is in contact with the air and, therefore, drying out, the more likely it is to tear anyway. My advice is to not be too precious about pressing out all the air. Where the pasta is draped over the filling, rather than stretched, there seems to be enough ‘give’ to allow them to expand without bursting.

There should be a large plum-sized ball of dough left over at the end to allow for wastage but you could always make up a little more filling if you like to use it up.

Gluten-free sausage, chilli and fennel ravioli with wild mushroom sauce

Serves 2 generously (makes about 30 ravioli)

For the pasta:
160g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
20g cornflour (cornstarch)
2/3 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt (optional)
2 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
cold water

For the filling:
1 tsp olive oil
200g gluten-free sausages (I used 3 of The Black Farmer sausages), skins removed
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 medium red chillis, chopped finely or 1-2 tsp Very Lazy Chilli (I used just 1 and it was pleasantly warm but I’d probably use 2 next time to give it a bit more poke)
½ – 1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for sealing the ravioli)
1 tbsp ricotta

For the sauce:
25g dried porcini
1 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
200g chestnut mushrooms
15g butter, chilled and cubed

To garnish:
Parsley
Parmesan cheese, grated

You will also need a pasta rolling machine and a 5 cm biscuit (cookie) cutter

First, make the filling. Cut the sausage meat into small pieces (I use a pair of scissors) and heat the oil over a low to medium heat in a frying pan. Gently fry the sausage meat for a couple of minutes until lightly coloured. Add the garlic, chilli and crushed fennel seeds and continue frying gently until the sausage is cooked through (another couple of minutes). Take off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. When cooled, place in a food processor with the egg yolk and ricotta and whizz to a rough paste.

Now, make the pasta. Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of the food processor. Blitz for a couple of seconds to mix the flours and break up any lumps. Add the two eggs and the oil. Blitz again to combine and gradually add a little cold water through the funnel until you have a soft dough.

Tip the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead into a ball. It should be soft and ever so slightly sticky to the touch*. Now either wrap the ball in clingfilm or return it to the bowl of the food processor and put the lid back on to keep the pasta from drying out.

Working with one small, plum-sized piece at a time, roll the dough out on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin until it is a few millimetres thick. Passing the dough just once through each thickness setting, starting at 2 and ending 5, roll the piece through the machine**. Make sure you carefully support its weight with your free hand. You’re looking for a strip at least 6 or 7cm wide – the length will vary so it doesn’t really matter.

Lay the strip on the work surface and place teaspoonfuls of filling at about 5cm intervals. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white around each spoonful of filling. This will stick the pasta together. Roll another pasta strip to go over the top: starting from the left (I’m right-handed), gently drape and press this pasta strip around the first mound of filling, making sure that it is sealed all the way around. Go on to the next mound of filling and continue until you have used up the pasta strip. Minor tears can be mended by smoothing them over with a little egg white on a pastry brush. Using a biscuit (cookie) cutter, cut the ravioli to shape and gently lift away the surplus pasta. Gently lift the ravioli onto a plate (I use a palette knife to loosen them from the surface). The ravioli can be covered with clingfilm and refrigerated until needed. Scrunch the surplus pasta up again and add to it, if needed to get a plum-sized ball. Reroll and continue making ravioli until all of the filling is used up.

When you are ready to cook the ravioli, put a large pan of salted water on to boil. To make the sauce, put the porcini in a heatproof bowl and add 250ml of boiling water. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquor, and chop. Heat the oil and the first quantity of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan (skillet). Add the chopped onions and fry gently for several minutes until they are pale and translucent. Add the garlic and chestnut mushrooms and continue to cook gently until the mushrooms have softened and have started to release their juices back into the pan (about 4-5 minutes). Add the soaking liquor, making sure you avoid the gritty bits in the bottom of the bowl, and the chopped porcini and allow to bubble away for a couple of minutes. Add the chilled butter cubes to the mushrooms and stir until the sauce becomes glossy. Check for seasoning.

Cook the ravioli in two batches. As soon as you put the ravioli in the boiling water, put the lid of the saucepan on to help the water come back up to the boil quickly and time them for 4 minutes. Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon held over a wad of kitchen paper and put in a warmed bowl. Repeat with the second batch. Pour the mushroom sauce over the ravioli and garnish with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.

 

*If the dough is sticking, flour the work surface and knead the ball of dough. Then break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces to distribute the flour more evenly, tip back onto the surface and knead into a ball.  Likewise, if the dough is too hard and dry, break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces and add a little more water. Once it has come together again, tip back out onto the work surface and knead.

** The sheet will have slightly raggedy edges. This is to be expected. If there are numerous holes, scrunch the ball of dough up and reroll. If the dough disintegrates as it goes through the rollers, it is probably too dry. See *

 

 

.

 

For Proust in his work À la Récherche du Temps Perdu, it was the taste of the crumb of a madeleine cake that brought memories involuntarily flooding back to him. For me, it is the aroma of melting butter as it hits a pan of hot pasta. This smell never fails to transport me back to the apartment on the via Guelfa in Florence that I was lucky enough to live in during the third year of my degree. The apartment consisted of two floors ninety-seven steps up an old building on the edge of Florence’s seemier side, a stone’s throw from the red light district of the via Nazionale. The bedroom I shared with my friend Simone was on the top floor and opened out on to a roof terrace that had a more or less 360° view over the roof tops of Florence. It was stunning. An Italian visitor, on seeing it, exclaimed to us, “Ma, si può abbracciare il Duomo!” (You can throw your arms around the Cathedral!”) and in the evenings, when the church bells were tolling all around and the dusk was settling, it was truly magical. I was a lucky, lucky girl.

Simone and I would go out a lot in the evenings – there were always people giving out free entrance tickets for the clubs. When we stumbled in, in the early hours, we would be ravenous. A pan of pasta would go on immediately and would then be simply dressed with butter, dried basil and Parmesan. This is how I ate it for my lunch today. My body may have been in my kitchen here in England but, with my eyes closed, my mind and not a small portion of my heart were in Florence.

Gluten-free tagliatelle

Makes 500g fresh, uncooked pasta (Serves 2-3)

260g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
15g cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt (optional)
3 eggs
1½ tbsp olive oil
cold water

You will also need a pasta rolling machine with a tagliatelle attachment and a very large saucepan

First of all, cut a strip of greaseproof baking paper about 30cm long and wide enough to fit underneath the rolling machine. You will need this when cutting the pasta using the tagliatelle attachment.

Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of the food processor. Blitz for a couple of seconds to mix the flours and break up any lumps. Add the three eggs and the oil. Blitz again to combine and gradually add a little cold water through the funnel until you have a soft dough.

Tip the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead into a ball. It should be soft and ever so slightly tacky to the touch*. Now either wrap the ball in clingfilm or return it to the bowl of the food processor and put the lid back on to keep the pasta from drying out.

Place a large plate dusted with flour next to the rolling machine. Working with a small, plum-sized piece at a time, roll the dough out on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin until it is a few millimetres thick. Try to get either the width or the length approximately the same width as the pasta rolling machine. Passing the dough just once through each thickness setting, starting at 2 and ending at 6 or 7, roll the piece through the machine**. Make sure you carefully support its weight with your free hand. Dust each side of the pasta sheet with flour*** and make sure that the greaseproof paper is in place before putting the pasta through the tagliatelle attachment. Slide the greaseproof paper out from under the machine and tip the tagliatelle onto a plate. Repeat until all the pasta is used up****.

Put a large saucepan of salted water on to heat. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the pasta and put the lid on straightaway. As soon as the water has come back up to the boil, drain the pasta and serve with your favourite sauce.

 

*If the dough is sticking, flour the work surface and knead the ball of dough. Then break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces to distribute the flour more evenly, tip back onto the surface and knead into a ball.  Likewise, if the dough is too hard and dry, break the ball up and return it to the food processor. Blitz into small pieces and add a little more water. Once it has come together again, tip back out onto the work surface.

** The sheet will have slightly raggedy edges and may have a few holes. This is to be expected and it won’t be noticeable when cut into tagliatelle. If the dough disintegrates as it goes through the rollers, it is probably too dry. See *

***This is really important because it will stop the pasta sticking and clumping together.

***The plate of pasta can now be covered with clingfilm and refrigerated until needed.

This isn’t quite the post I was planning. I’ve been toying for a while with a salmon and pesto en croûte made with gluten-free puff pastry and I thought that I was going to iron out some irksome problems with it this weekend. Unfortunately, this was not to be. I did at least manage to avert the bane of most bakers’ lives – the dreaded soggy bottom – with a judiciously applied pancake (à la Beef Wellington) and although it tasted delicious (even my glutenista of a husband thought so!!!), it was hardly photogenic. I’m not vain on my food’s behalf but, I think that if you’re trying to entice people into going to all the trouble of buying ingredients and cooking them, then a decent photo goes a long way. But I couldn’t cook it again so soon. Even I can’t eat that much puff pastry in a week, gluten free or not.
So I had no recipe to post that I was entirely happy with.  What’s more, I had no dinner planned for yesterday evening either. What I did have, though, was the rest of the tub of pesto, some crème fraîche and some pasta. All it needed was a quick trip to the supermarket to procure some chicken and, hey presto, the following dish was born. Truly serendipitous. I love it when a non-plan comes together.
Creamy pesto chicken pasta
Serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
300ml chicken stock
130g fresh pesto
2 heaped dessertspoons crème fraîche (I use half-fat)
2 skinless, boneless chicken fillets (about 250g), cut into bite-sized pieces
200g gluten-free pasta
Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large, deep sauté pan (it needs to be big enough to hold the sauce and the pasta combined). Add the onion and gently fry until softened but not coloured. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer gently for another couple of minutes. Stir in both the pesto and the crème fraîche and bring back up to a simmer.

Add the chicken and allow to gently poach in the sauce for 10 minutes or until cooked through*. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large saucepan of boiling salted water. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce. Stir to combine. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a green side salad.

*I always cook chicken breast in a sauce in this way to avoid the meat toughening up and going stringy. You could substitute chicken thigh meat for the breast but I would brown this off first, remove from the pan before cooking the onions and add back in once the sauce is made. It may not need such a long cooking time.

Notes from the Ledge

The secret to balancing it all is...well, I'll tell you if I ever figure it out.

mygijourney

The rise of a health nut

gf and me

Gluten Free Recipes & Tips

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design

sensitive flour

Gluten-free cooking, baking, eating

Sweet Potatoes & Social Change

Real Food. Wellness. Simplicity

Little Gal in the City

Live and Love with your whole heart

No wheat please, I'm allergic

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

wetinkpresspublishing

Pre-publishing Services for eBooks and Print Publications

Della Cucina Povera

From Prosciutto to Pomegranates

afra cooking

taking pleasure in all things food

colour me happy kitchen

Because having allergies shouldn't mean missing out.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

charuyoga

vibrant inspiring nourishing yoga

Pizzi e Fichi

Lo style del buon gusto

Fabulously Free From

Living Gluten Free, fabulously!

V 8 Mile

Eatin' veggies, vegetarian and gluten-free in the greater Motor City & while traveling

DO NOT feed the back packer!

A diary of my interests, my travels and my quest to find good Gluten Free food! donotfeedthebackpacker@gmail.com

Mix It Up & Make It Nice

Amateur baker with a passion for eating!

My Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Growing Up Gluten Free

Rantings, recipes, and reviews

Southerners in the Great White North

Ken & Becca's Canadian Adventure

thebeautyofthewrittenword

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

vinicooksveg

Amazing & fun.........Indian cooking!!

travels around my kitchen

Just live, read, eat and travel!

Making myself useful

Striving for daily self-accountability