Gluten-Free Pasta and Gnocchi

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.

Of course the chef should be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour

Of course the chef should be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour

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.

Explaining the hands-on experience

Explaining the hands-on experience

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.

Adding the

Mixing the potato into the rice flour

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.

How to make gnocchi

How to make gnocchi

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.

Cutting the gnocchi - this was done at a startling pace!

Cutting the gnocchi – this was done at a startling pace!

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.

Our turn to make gnocchi

Our turn to make gnocchi

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.

Look what I made!

Look what I made!

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.

The gnocchi coming to the surface

The gnocchi coming to the surface

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.

Mushroom sauce for the gnocchi, rappa and passata sauce for the pasta

Mushroom sauce for the gnocchi, rappa and passata sauce for the pasta

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.

Gnocchi in a mushroom sauce

Gnocchi in a mushroom sauce

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.

Giving that gnocchi a toss

Giving that gnocchi a toss

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.

Gabriele encourages dialogue in his courses

Gabriele encourages dialogue in his courses

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!

The master at work

The master at work – rolling out the pasta

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!

Cook the pasta in a large pot

Cook the pasta in a large pot

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!

Pasta with a rappa sauce

Pasta with a rappa and passata sauce

If you liked this post, you’re welcome to share it.

Sprinkling some pecorino cheese over the pasta

Sprinkling some pecorino cheese over the pasta

 

Comments

  1. I’m very excited to learn these recipes as I myself prefer to eat GF and I have family and friends who are gluten intolerant. Can hardly wait for the gnocchi recipe Charlie!

  2. Strange coincidence. I made potato gnocchi for the first time in my life yesterday. They were pretty good but I sure they could do with improving. :) I was surprised that cold potatoes were a requirement however.

    You’re so fortunate getting to go to this great cooking course. I’ve wanted to make pasta from scratch for some time, though GF is not one of my requirements. I look forward to future posts on what you learned.

  3. What a great cooking course! I really don’t know much about gluten-free recipes as I have had no real reason to learn–so far, my family seems fine with wheat. But I should know, as gluten-free is everywhere I go and I have been asked to teach classes in it, for which I am clearly not qualified and can’t do!

  4. great cooking course,.. i will enjoy myself too.

  5. What a fun class and gluten free is a plus. I have taken a couple of course in Italy and it was the best classes ever. Private lessons with a little grandma who only spoke Italian. A memory I will never forget.

  6. Gluten free or not, it all looks incredibly tasty! What an interesting and informative class!

  7. * Stalkingggggg* He is a great advocate for the gluten intolerant and passionate about every aspect of his kitchen. What a great class Charlie ( at Accoutrement?). Notice you were up the front taking pictures most of the time…….

  8. I think we can all understand why you might want to stalk this man ;)

  9. I have been wondering how it is that so many people seem to be “suddenly” gluten-intolerant. I think Gabriele’s explanation makes sense. What a great class. I love participatory cooking instruction. I’ll look forward to more of what you learned in future posts, too! :-)

  10. It’s so encouraging to hear what Gabriele is doing. Gluten free food is getting better and better as more people change over to it.
    My mid winter steamed pudding was gluten and sugar-free, and everyone loved it.

  11. He’s so cute – I’d stalk him. :) I recently went to an Italian cooking class (with gluten) and had a ball. I know what you mean about being on your feet all day.

    Everything looks good and it’s wonderful to know that a chef is creating edible things for those who need to remain gluten free. I’ve eaten a few things and it was tough getting them down.

    Interesting about the flour since WWII.

  12. This is most interesting! I have absolutely no food intolerances including one for wheat, but this is the first time I have seen flours divided such: and, for decades already I have not eaten any of the ‘weak’ flours by instinct [yup, am one of the nuts who does not eat potato bar 2-3 times a year and surely does not miss it!!!]. More study needed: how much have I have instinctively helped myself?

  13. very interesting about the bleached flour and WWII connection, I definitely see how it is possible though. Great post Charlie, sounds like it was a most wonderful and intimate class.

  14. Wow that looks terrific and is a very interesting explanation about a possible cause of The disease. I wasn’t aware it did not exist pre. WW2.
    Carolyn

  15. Oh oh oh I’m so jealous Charlie! I haven’t been able to make a decent GF pasta at all! I would so love to go to these classes as well, so I can hardly wait for you to share the recipes! Yay! Xox

  16. I know someone who will have read this thread with much interest-Celia! Great class though and I can imagine how devastating it would have been for an Italian to be diagnosed as a celiac.

  17. Everything looks delicious! So glad they’ve come up with ways for people who can’t tolerate gluten to still enjoy food :)

  18. Awesome!
    Have a lovely week ahead Charlie.
    :-) Mandy xo

  19. I cannot wait to learn more from your experience with him! I have been playing around with GF recipes since our daughter does better without wheat, but pastas are tricky. I also have a friend who cannot eat gluten or rice, which makes it difficult for her to find good GF products when so many contain rice. I am currently experimenting with some of the other flours you mentioned in your post and appreciate learning from Gabriele! Good GF sourdough would be divine. :)

  20. GF pasta products are so hard to find! They don’t sound chalky or pasty at all. Thanks for sharing!

  21. OOoooo, looks SO000000 good.
    Did I tell you that my daddy used to make this for me for my birthday every year?
    My all time fave.
    Love the photos. He is adorable. :) Xxx

  22. I love gnocchi! And it’s been ages since I’ve made it. The course sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to some of the recipes you’ll be sharing. However, coeliac disease isn’t all that recent – ancient Greeks knew of it and described it! But because it’s genetic, there have only been good tests for it in this century, which is why we see more of it these days (or at least that’s my understanding; I’ve read only a very little about it). Anyway, fun post – thanks so much.

  23. I’ve never made gnocchi as I’m always too scared that they won’t be soft and pillowy. Looking forward to your upcoming recipes charlie :) x

  24. What a lovely course…and an important one too! Two of my closest friends can’t eat gluten, and I know they miss their favorites. I would have loved to attend! Thank you for sharing your experience, and I can’t wait to read more of what you learned!

  25. They all certainly look as good as their wheat-packed counterparts. Looking forward to your recipes Charlie!

  26. This looks like a great class. Would love to have been part of this.

  27. I love pasta so much but my gut reacts badly to gluten quite a lot. I haven’t been diagnosed as a coeliac but I think there is some truth to what you’ve said about wheat products if personal experience is anything to go by. I’ve yet to find a gluten-free pasta brand that I’ve liked so I am looking forward to seeing these recipes.

  28. I want to make homemade pasta and gnocchi but haven’t had a chance yet….but will one day! How fun to learn it from him. :)

  29. I so wish I could attend those cooking lessons. That was a lot of wonderful information and I have taken notes. I am looking forward to your recipes.

  30. Good handmade pasta is such an art, and I assume GF handmade pasta is even more tricky to get ‘just right’. At least you’ve been able to learn from the best. So good that GF flours like amaranth flour are so accessible now, and a very interesting theory on the cause/start of Coeliac disease. I might just have to read into that a bit more…

  31. Oh I really should get off my butt and make gnocchi!!
    Every time I see a story like this I wish I could make it myself but I have a huge fear factor… I am expecting a disaster so I procrastinate!
    It looks like such a good class to do!

  32. I can’t wait to see these recipes Charlie! My BF is on a gluten free diet and I would love to be able to make her a delicious pasta meal. Gnocchi in particular. I for one am glad you are stalking Gabriele! :)

  33. This is a great post, Charlie, and sure to be welcomed by plenty of people. I’ve a cousin with gluten-related issues — in my pasta-lovin’ family!!! — and I’ll definitely be sending the recipes to her once you share them. I already know she’ll be most grateful. Thank you.

  34. I’ve often wondered why there seem to be so many people with gluten problems – it seems to make sense. I hd no idea there were so many different options for using gluten free flours – very interesting.
    (and I’d been very keen on doing a class if the teacher was so cute too. In a non-stalkerish kind of way of course)

  35. Wow! The gnocchi and past looked wonderful! You’re going to be able to open your own cafe after all of these fantastic cooking classes you’re taking. ;)

    ~ April

  36. You know, I was asking myself the other day “is there such a thing as GF pasta”… one of those brief, fleeting wonderings, and I told myself that there couldn’t possibly be because of the make-up of it, but now I think about it, having seen your post here it all makes sense. Just make it the same way as you do GF cakes with xanthan gum – I’d be very interested in trying it because I’d love to know what it’s like compared to “regular” stuff.

    Looks like you had a great time anyway Charlie!

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