Go the extra mile for wheat intolerant guests and treat them to a delicious plate of freshly made gluten free pasta. Victoria shows it's easier to make than you might think.
The supermarket free-from food aisles have hugely improved in recent years and you can even find some decent dried pasta if you look hard enough, but sometimes, just sometimes, you need more choice than a bowl of fusilli can offer.
My gluten-dodging boyfriend is of the opinion that homemade pasta is largely pointless unless you’re planning to fill it. Though I can’t bring myself to agree with him entirely, I do concede that the effort involved can feel more worthwhile when making something that you can’t just pick up readymade at your local deli. Filled pastas also seem fancier – like you’ve really gone to town – so your gluten-free diners will feel all the more special because you bothered to go that extra mile for them.
I’m not going to lie to you, filling vast quantities of ravioli (gluten-free or not) as a main course for eight is never going to be as speedy as boiling up a pan of penne, but if you get your partner/flatmate on board and set up a pasta production line, it can actually be quite fun. And the results will certainly be worth your labour. Plus, if you get bored halfway through, you can always serve it as a starter and knock up something quick and easy for main.
The beauty of having a failsafe gluten-free pasta recipe up your sleeve, is that you can really treat your gluten-free loved ones to the kind of meal that is usually out of their reach.
I hate having to serve guests different things at the table. Not because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to cater for them, but because it can make them feel less welcome. If I have a vegetarian at my table, I serve veggie to everyone or I opt for tapas or mezze with a good balance of meat and meat-free dishes, so that people can help themselves to what they want or don’t want.
Is there anything more awful than watching a vegetarian try to look grateful as they say, “Don’t worry, I love broccoli!” as they survey the table to discover they can only eat the side veggies, while everyone else is crunching crackling between their teeth and tucking into roast pork. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being singled out as awkward or a fussy eater and nobody should ever be left out of the feast and gluten-dodging isn’t nearly as difficult to cater for as people think.
I served this pasta to a gluten-scoffer the other day and he couldn’t tell the difference. So, why not invite your gluten-intolerant friends over for dinner and surprise them with a dish they didn’t think they’d ever be able to eat again?
125g gluten-free plain flour (I used Doves)
2 medium eggs
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
Simply whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until everything comes together. Touch the dough and if it is too sticky, add a bit more flour and if it is too dry add a touch more oil. Whizz again and turn out onto a surface lightly floured (with more gluten-free flour) and knead for a couple of minutes. Wrap the dough in the fridge and leave to rest for at least an hour.
This dough can be put through a pasta machine, but I chose to roll mine by hand with a rolling pin, to prevent cross-contamination, as I have already used my machine for wheat pasta.
I turned my gluten-free pasta into bacon and cauliflower ravioli on a bed of cauliflower puree with a touch of truffle oil, but you can fill your pasta with anything you like.
Try my egg yolk ravioli recipe or find inspiration from the Great British Chefs' ravioli recipe collection.