Generally, I’ve been somewhat reluctant to try new pastas after I found one that I liked. (OK, and I bought a 10 lb bag of that favorite which took me about 18 months to finish. Therefore, I HAD pasta.) Partly, it’s the investment factor. Gluten-free pastas are pretty pricey, not that wonderful for you, and just not worth that much of my hard earned cash. A friend of a relative has overcome that barrier by passing off a few (free) packages of some Italian imports. Above friend has no knowledge of blogging, this is my honest opinion, etc.

Le Veneziane is made in Italy (there goes local) from just corn flour and an emulsifier. The pasta is very yellow, much like egg noodles, and comes in numerous shapes. Best feature: cooks fast! My pasta last night was cooked to al dente in 7 minutes, and a touch less chewy in a mere 8 minutes. The flavor plain was quite nice, very much reminiscent of semolina flour, and not noticeably corn-like. Unlike most pastas, it contains no salt, so you’ll probably want to salt your cooking water.  With vegetables, I didn’t even notice it was gluten-free pasta.  It passed muster with my fellow diner, as well.

Nutritionally, this fills the carb portion of your plate: there’s a touch of protein, a bit of iron, and not quite enough fiber to notice.  Sorry, folks, not whole grain, and not an everyday food.  But when you’re craving authentic pasta with a great texture, Le Veneziane is a solid choice.

Last night, we had the spirals (eliche) tossed with broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini. A touch a garlic, a dash of truffle oil, a glob of homemade goat ricotta, a few pine nuts, and a sprinkle of pecorino finished the dish.

Freestyle Pasta con Legumes

Serves two

3-4 T olive oil
1 onion
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
3/4 medium zucchini, cubed
1/2 head broccoli, cut in florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz pasta
1/2 c ricotta
Optional: 1 oz pecorino romano
Toasted pine nuts
Black pepper
Truffle oil

Boil water for pasta. Meanwhile, complete the vegetable prep and begin cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often while allowing it to brown a little. Add the mushrooms, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are almost done. Ideally, this is when you want to add the pasta to your pot of boiling water. (You can turn to heat to low and cook the mushrooms and onions longer if the water’s not boiling. Add a little both or water if they start to stick.) Add the garlic, zucchini, and broccoli to the onions, and stir well. Turn the heat back to medium high, and stir often. Turn the heat to low when the broccoli is cooked to your taste. When the pasta is almost done, scoop about 1/3 c of water from the pasta pot and add to the vegetables. Drain the pasta well when cooked, and toss with the vegetables. Serve, and top each portion with a generous spoonful of ricotta and any optional ingredients listed above.

P.S. I’m moved!  I found the camera’s battery charger!