I decided to try some gluten-free pasta. I was curious to know how it would compare to pasta made from durum wheat, if I could tell the difference between the two.
I bought conchiglie made from rice and corn. The noodles held together well in the water and took the same amount of time to cook as any other dried pasta. Once the shells were smothered in sauce it was impossible to tell that they weren't wheat; they looked like pasta, smelled like pasta, and tasted absolutely delicious.
The sauce is quick and easy to make. I used canned chopped tomatoes and pre-roasted red peppers for expedience and because I don't have a gas stove. Fresh herbs can be substituted for dried.
Cooking time will depend on the shape of noodle you choose, the size of the saucepan you use and whether or not you like some bite to the finished pasta – follow the instructions on the back of the packet, then test a piece a few minutes before the end of the given time to see if it is done to your liking; if it isn't, leave the saucepan on the heat and taste some every minute until it is.
150g Gluten-Free Pasta
30ml Olive Oil
20 Basil Leaves
1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Pinch of Dried Oregano
1 Pinch of Thyme Leaves
400g Tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
5g Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper
1. Into a small saucepan, put the olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme.
Leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Place a large saucepan of salted water on the stove on a high heat.
3. Weigh out 150g of pasta.
4. Slice two roasted red peppers into small pieces.
5. When the water in the larger saucepan is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and gently drop the pasta into the water. Reduce the heat slightly, so that the water is still boiling but not so vigorously.
6. Move the smaller saucepan onto the stove and turn the heat to medium. Sauté the garlic and herbs in the oil until the garlic turns translucent.
7. Add the chopped tomatoes, red peppers and tomato paste, stir, then season to taste.
8. Stir the pasta to ensure that none of the pieces stick to the bottom of the pot.
9. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced in volume by one third. This should take about as long as it will take the pasta to cook.
10. When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, drain it, and return it to the saucepan.
11. Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.
12. Spoon a portion-sized amount onto a plate and top with freshly-torn basil.
Enjoy on its own or with dressed salad leaves. Perfect for supper on a sultry summer night.
Serves 2 | £3.50 | 20–30 mins