Monday, October 19, 2009

A-maize-ing Pasta

It had been a while since our family last tried gluten-free pasta made from solely from corn. Years ago, we tried DeBoles corn spaghetti-style pasta but were not impressed. So it was with some skepticism that we used Molino di Ferro's Le Veneziane gluten-free penne, made from 100 percent corn flour, as part of a family pasta dinner that also included a lasagne made with BiAglut egg noodles. It was the first time we had used pasta from either brand.

Not only was the Le Veneziane an excellent corn pasta, I thought it was among the best gluten-free pastas of any kind we've had. I added the contents of a 9-ounce package of penne to a pot of boiling water with a bit of salt, cooking it (and stirring occasionally) for 12 minutes to taste.

I cooked the BiAglut lasagne sheets in water for 15 minutes before assembling the lasagne ingredients - pasta, spicy turkey sausage, low-fat ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and tomato sauce - in a pan, which I baked for 40 minutes. I had some trouble separating the sheets of pasta after cooking them, so I had to double up the pasta layers in spots, making the lasagne a bit uneven. The lasagne noodles are made of a blend of corn starch, eggs and potato flour. The BiAglut was fine (I thought it was better than the Tinkyada brown rice version), but I was more impressed with the Le Veneziane pasta. BiAglut also makes gluten-free macaroni without eggs.

Le Veneziane pastas, BiAglut pastas and crackers, and crackers and cookies made under the ZeroGrano brand by Galbusera, are imported from Italy. These products are distributed in the United States by Quattrobimbi Imports, the company which sent me samples from each brand for review. The ZeroGrano chocolate wafers were reminiscent of glutenous sugar wafers. I happened to enjoy the ZeroGrano rosemary-seasoned club-style crackers, but my older son didn't care for them. While he liked the BiAglut crackers, I thought they were bland.

At the moment, there are no stores in the Delaware Valley stocking products from these companies. The products can be ordered direct from Quattrobimbi's website. The company has two discount offers: for $10 off an order over $60, enter code FALLSALE at checkout (expires November 7, 2009); for 10 percent off your entire order, enter code SAVE10.
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