I’m absolutely not stalking Gabriele Taddeucci but I’m sure you’re all suspecting that I am. It’s just that when I was at his restaurant, Balla, he let me know that he was running a hands-on course in how to make GF pasta and GF gnocchi.
As I have previously mentioned, about 10 years ago Gabriele was diagnosed with coeliac disease. At the time he was devastated. How could he live as an Italian but more importantly, continue with his career as a chef, as a coeliac. He seriously contemplated a career change but fortunately he decided to stay in his profession but invest his time into creating GF products even an Italian with a discerning palette would enjoy.
Fast-forward a few years and Gabriele now serves in his restaurant a great range of GF dishes and sides including pasta, gnocchi and sourdough bread. He is now sharing the results of years of trial and error through his restaurant and his cooking courses.
The class was three hours long and you are best to wear closed-toe shoes for safety that are also flat and comfortable because you’ll be on your feet for the entire class.
Gabriele’s theory as to why more and more people are becoming gluten intolerant is because of the large amount of bleached flours we all started to consume after WWII. The way these flours are processed puts stress on our digestive systems, sometimes creating irreversible illnesses.
Since WWII ancient grains like spelt have been farmed less and less because they weren’t easy to grow, produced smaller yields and were therefore less profitable. This has led to our generation having an increasing percentage of wheat in our diets leading to digestive issues. This theory hasn’t been scientifically proven however, it could explain why coeliac disease didn’t exist prior to WWII.
Replacing gluten isn’t simple. Different products require different flours and need to be separated into groups defined as strong, mid-strength and weak. Bread and proofed dough require strong flours, sweets and pastry mid-strength and pasta, weak flour.
Strong flours are quinoa, arrowroot, millet, soy or other bean flour.
Mid-strength flours are brown rice, tapioca, buckwheat, amaranth, flax, almond meal or other nut meals.
Weak flours are white rice, corn and potato.
First of all we made gnocchi. The potato had already been pre-mashed as it is important to make gnocchi using cold mashed potato. It’s also important to use potatoes that don’t absorb a lot of water so it’s recommended you use old potatoes and that you keep the skin on and boil or bake them whole.
The gnocchi was served in a very simple sauce of a variety of mushrooms sauteed in a pan with some finely sliced garlic, then some of the cooking water was added to create a sauce and finished with some pecorino cheese. This was such a simple sauce but what I love about the best of Italian cuisine is that it takes very few ingredients to create something spectacular.
To me the gnocchi was perfectly textured and I wasn’t able to discern a difference between regular gnocchi and Gabriele’s recipe that used potato, rice flour, egg yolks and salt.
I should mention that all the grains Gabriele uses are organic and non GMO.
Next we made the pasta and it was pasta that was rolled by hand. The pasta was made with white rice flour, buckwheat flour, cornmeal, salt, xanthan gum and eggs. The pasta was served with a sauce made from garlic, rappa and home-made passata. Again, very simple ingredients but this was an incredible vegetarian pasta that had everyone wishing for more.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the course. It was informative but presented in a very casual and teachable way where everyone was relaxed and very involved. Gabriele is extremely knowledgeable, sympathetic to those with a food intolerance, enthusiastic to share his knowledge and passionate beyond belief to make sure those who can’t have gluten can have the best Italian meal ever – and cook it themselves!
As much as he can, Gabriele is running courses. He has some more pasta and gnocchi evenings coming up as well as some courses in how to make GF sourdough bread. If you’d like to keep informed as to when Gabriele is running his courses, you can follow him on twitter. I’m very keen to do his sourdough course so I’m following (stalking) him too!
In the next few weeks I’ll be replicating the recipes I gained from the course and of course I’ll share them with you. Wish me luck!
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