I eat a lot of pasta. It’s a fallback item I always have in the house, and something I’ve had multiple times a week since I started eating solid food (it’s a side effect of being half Italian). So I knew that when I went gluten free that this would be one of the most important things to find a good substitute for. Taste wasn’t really a concern for me, as I think all pasta basically tastes the same and is mostly just a good companion to various sauces and toppings. My big concern was texture: I eat my pasta al dente, full stop. I’d heard from a number of people that rice pasta has a tendency to get gummy, so I decided to buy a few brands of quinoa pasta to see what I like best, putting aside my extreme grumpiness that gluten-free pasta is sold in smaller quantities and much higher prices than semolina pasta.
The first brand I tried was Ancient Harvest, which is a blend of quinoa and corn. And it was surprisingly good! I cooked it for about 7 minutes and the texture was pretty close to regular pasta’s, and the taste was good too. Unfortunately, I learned the next day that this pasta does not hold up well as cold leftovers, so I’d strongly recommend only cooking the amount you plan to eat in one sitting (the recipe below makes 2 to 3 servings). But hot the pasta did quite well, even tossed with just veggies and no real sauce to speak of.
This is a really easy dish to make and shouldn’t take you longer than 30 minutes. It can easily be made with regular pasta too, which is what we did in my apartment; I had it with my GF pasta and my roommate had it with regular–we just each mixed the veggies in in our own bowls. Like all things, it is vastly more delicious with cheese, but is good without it too if you’re also dairy free.
Summer Squash & Broccoli (Gluten-free) Pasta
1/3 large or 1/2 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (I used one of each), cut in quarters lengthwise and diced
10 ounces broccoli florets, preferably organic
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste
8 ounces gluten-free pasta, or regular pasta, any shape of your choice
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (optional)
grated pecorino romano cheese, for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt once boiling.
Heat enough olive oil to comfortably cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent a bit, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add broccoli, more salt and pepper than you think you need, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Cover and let cook, undisturbed, for 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and stir. At this point your broccoli will probably have absorbed most of the oil, so add more as needed. Then add in zucchini and stir. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add your pasta to the boiling water, stir and set the timer, then go back to your vegetables. Keep stirring occasionally until veggies are tender but still a bit crisp, and browned a bit in places. Taste for seasonings and add more if necessary.
The vegetables and pasta should finish around the same time. When pasta is done, drain, then combine with veggies and more olive oil. Divide into bowls and top with more olive oil and with cheese, if desired. You don’t have to tell anyone how many times you add more pecorino to the bowl, I promise.