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Gluten-Free Basics & Beyond

Gluten-Free Ingredient List:

Pasta & Bread

Gluten-Free Pastas & Breads

Just because you’re no longer eating wheat doesn’t mean that pasta and bread are off the menu.

There are two routes you can take when it comes to pasta: Asian noodles that traditionally don’t contain wheat and gluten-free approximations of classic Italian pasta. And when it comes to choosing store-bought gluten-free bread, it's all about knowing what to look for.

  • Dried Italian-Style Pasta

    We ran an extensive taste test of gluten-free spaghetti. In subsequent work in the test kitchen, we had excellent results with other shapes manufactured by Jovial, winner of our spaghetti tasting. As with wheat pasta, we found that cooking times listed on packages of gluten-free pasta are often inaccurate. You must taste pasta often as it cooks. Also note that gluten-free pasta goes from al dente to mush even faster than wheat-based pasta, so err on the side of undercooking the noodles. We often call for reserving some of the starchy cooking water to help loosen sauces. Place a measuring cup in the colander so you remember not to pour all the cooking water down the drain. [Buy on Amazon | See Our Review]

Pasta Night

Recipe Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta

We figured out how to make gluten-free pasta that doesn't taste like it's gluten-free.

 

  • Lasagna Noodles

    Gluten-free lasagna noodles are available in both no-boil and boil-before-use forms. We found that no-boil gluten-free noodles varied considerably; some brands were thick and cooked up gummy, while others were thin and fragile. We had better luck using noodles that we boiled. There are just a few brands on the market. We had the most success with Tinkyada; they were tender once cooked and held up well, while other brands were incredibly fragile. Boil them for a bit less time than the package instructions indicate so they don’t fall apart. After boiling and draining the noodles, toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent sticking.

  • Rice Noodles

    This delicate pasta, made from rice flour and water, is used in a variety of dishes in Southeast Asia and southern China. Flat rice noodles come in two widths: a medium-width (¼-inch-wide) noodle and a larger (⅜-inch-wide) noodle. Round rice noodles also come in more than one size, but we prefer the thinner rice vermicelli. Don’t follow the package directions, which often call for boiling. Such treatment will turn these delicate noodles into a gummy, mushy, unappealing mess. You’ll get the most reliable results by steeping these noodles in hot water. Place the noodles in a very large bowl, cover them with very hot tap water, and stir to separate the individual strands. Let the noodles soak until they are softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, 20 minutes for vermicelli or narrow flat noodles, or 35 to 40 minutes for wide flat noodles. Drain the noodles and use as directed. [Buy on Amazon]

From the Bread Basket

Recipe Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

We wanted a fluffy, sweet loaf with a soft crumb, plenty of raisins, and a generous cinnamon swirl.

 

  • Soba Noodles

    Soba noodles possess a rich, nutty flavor and a delicate texture. They get their flavor from buckwheat flour. Be aware that many brands also contain wheat, which not only keeps the price down but gives the noodles more structure. Make sure to read the label and look for those that contain buckwheat flour only. Soba noodles should be cooked like Italian-style pasta. Since they are often used in Asian-inspired recipes that include salty ingredients like tamari, there is often no need to salt the water.

  • Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

    When you’re avoiding gluten, it’s tough to give up toast and sandwiches—and if a recipe calls for bread slices or crumbs, you’re really out of luck. That’s where gluten-free supermarket bread can step in. While fresh loaves are scarce, the freezer section of most supermarkets is usually packed with many gluten-free options for both white and multigrain or whole-grain breads. Our tasting of gluten-free sandwich breads revealed that gluten-free breads labeled multigrain or whole-grain are a better bet than white breads. [Buy on Amazon]

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