The Skinny on Gluten-Free Pasta, and Why Some Tastes Gross
Were you on the Gluten-Free train when it first became popular? If so, we’re sorry. Most early adopters of gluten-free products had to put up with an array of chalky, gloopy and downright disgusting gluten-free alternatives. Some of these were so unappetizing that it had many of those flirting with a gluten-free lifestyle heading for the hills and never looking back. Our chefs at Caesar’s had tasted their fair share of gluten-free pasta disasters and vowed to never produce a gluten-free meal unless they tasted as good or better than our beloved wheat-filled noodles. So we set out to experimenting with a personal passion, as many of our family members are gluten-intolerant.
First, we sourced wheat-flour alternatives from every corner of the globe, took all of the ingredients into the kitchen and got to cooking. Some of the gluten-free pastas you may have tried include:
- Corn flour
- Quinoa flour
- Arrowroot powder
- Brown rice flour
- Potato starch
- Tapioca flour
- Coconut or almond flour
When it comes to gluten-free pastas, they usually fall into one of two categories: “single origin” or “mixed starch” – not the catchiest of names, but we’ll take what we can get. The problem with single origin pastas is that they lack the nuance of mixed starch pastas. Rice flour pasta can get slimy if cooked even a minute too long, or stay too hard if undercooked (we think of them as the avocados of the pasta world). Straight corn pastas can take on too much corn flavor and overpower a dish, and no one wants a corny pasta (aaaaand…we’ve met our dad joke quota for this post). Other types can become gritty, flavorless or downright flabby. We weren’t prepared to accept any of these outcomes, so we got to mixing. After a lot of trial and error, we came upon a few noodle recipes that gave us the bite of your favorite mac and cheese, the bounce of springy pasta salad noodle and the perfect flavor to compliment the ingredients in our Caesar’s Kitchen entrees.
What did we do? For our entrees like the Gluten Free Beef and 3 Cheese Bolognese or Gluten Free Buffalo Style Chicken Mac & Cheese, we used a combination of rice flour, corn flours, tapioca and potato starches to create noodles that have a flavor and texture indistinguishable from the noodles you grew up with. We’d love to give you the recipe, but the lawyers wouldn’t let us. For our Potato Gnocchi, we mixed in rice flour with potato to create a fluffy, chewy gnocchi nugget that pairs like a dream with your favorite pesto or alfredo sauce.
We’d like to formally invite you to a place you never thought possible, a world where gluten-free and delicious live together in harmony. It took years of hard work and a frankly disturbing increase to our research budget, but we feel strongly that we’ve changed the game here. At Caesar’s Kitchen, we believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between your health and your taste buds.