Disclosure: This post features a recap of my gluten-free pasta-making class. Sprouts provided groceries and goodie bags for the class, and this post contains affiliate links.
Us gluten-free folk sure to love our pasta, don’t we?
OK, I know it’s not the healthiest food because of the white flours, but when I prepare it at home, I use only fresh and clean ingredients, and I slather it in a healthy tomato sauce to bump up the nutrition factor. Plus, I’m not eating meat when I eat homemade pasta, which is a good thing for your body and overall health.
Earlier this week I hosted another gluten-free cooking class in Denver… this time we made gluten-free pasta (from scratch) and homemade marinara sauce (both recipes below).
First thing’s first – we made homemade marinara sauce. So many of us grew up on tomato sauce from a jar and honestly have no idea how to make a sauce from scratch. Fortunately for my class, I know how to make a basic red sauce using Sprouts’ crushed canned tomatoes, finely chopped onions and garlic, dried Italian seasoning, olive oil and fresh basil (we added the olive oil and fresh basil at the end of the cooking cycle).
As the sauce was simmering, we decided to add a little red wine to our sauce because, you know, we’re adults and we can – lol! The red wine cut the acid level of the sauce and really gave the sauce a smooth texture. It was delicious – rave reviews!
We simmered the red sauce to allow the flavors to come together while we prepared our fresh gluten-free pasta.
Making gluten-free pasta is actually fairly easy if you use a gluten-free flour substitute that measures like real flour. I personally use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour (I got my flour at Sprouts, but if you can’t find it there, you can get it on Amazon). It is the gluten-free flour I use in most of my baking recipes and it almost always works like a charm.
Getting the measurement right took me some time – but I found the right mix of eggs and flour.
Once you have the gluten-free pasta dough made, you can spend about a minute kneading it while incorporating a bit more flour into the mixture to ensure it’s not sticky, but still a little wet. Most pasta dough needs to be kneaded for a few minutes in order to develop the gluten, but there’s no gluten here, so just a few seconds will do. Remember, the gluten-free pasta dough mixture can’t be too wet because it will stick to the pasta machine rollers, but it can’t be too dry because then it will crack and fall apart. Your gluten-free pasta dough needs to be just right – that comes with time and practice.
I showed everyone how to roll the dough through my electric pasta machine from Marcato. This pasta machine is something I think every gluten-free home chef should have! I’m grateful that my mother-in-law purchased one for me as a birthday gift in the year following my celiac diagnosis – she knew how much I love pasta so this gift was perfect!
This pasta machine flattens the dough into long, even lasagna noodles. Then the pasta machine cuts the pasta into even strips. When you use a pasta machine, your pasta is uniform and just-right.
However, I know most people don’t have an electric pasta machine, so alternatively, you can roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a nice thin layer (on a floured surface, you don’t want the dough to stick), and then use a pizza roller to cut even strips. Your pasta won’t be uniform, but it will still taste doughy and delicious. (Just be sure to make the dough thin so you don’t have a thick, doughy pasta.)
I encouraged my students to try rolling and cutting the dough by hand and in my electric pasta machine. There’s something special about seeing the pasta you made come out of the pasta machine for the first time… there’s quite a sense of pride, accomplishment and excitement.
Look at all those beautiful gluten-free noodles!
Can you believe this pile of gluten-free noodles we created?!? We were getting hungry at this point so it’s a good thing these noodles cook up fast.
We boiled the noodles for about two minutes in heavily salted water and then they were ready for eating!
Sprouts Farmers Market provided us with all the ingredients needed to make the gluten-free pasta dough and sauce as well as some fun bean pastas to sample, including Explore Cuisine’s Mung Bean and Edamame noodles and Banza’s chickpea noodles.
We sat on my deck, chit-chatted about being gluten-free and ate up all these yummy gluten-free pastas. Having homemade pasta really makes you feel normal again. Just look at these happy, well fed gluten-free students!
So you might be wondering what everyone thought of the other pastas? Well, as you can imagine, nothing beat the homemade pasta. Most of the class liked the Mung Bean and Edamame pasta, but the Banza noodles weren’t as big of a hit. I think it was hard for these alternative gluten-free pastas to compete with the homemade stuff that we mixed, rolled, cut and cooked ourselves.
At the end of the night, everyone got to take home a reusable shopping bag from Sprouts, as well as a can of Sprouts’ crushed tomatoes and an Explore Asian black bean or adzuki bean pasta. They also got to take home the leftover sauce, noodles and dough!
All in all, my students seemed to enjoy themselves. They learned how to make gluten-free pasta and marinara sauce from scratch, left with full bellies, and even took home a few treats to help them cook up their own gluten-free pasta feast at home.