There is so much good food to discover and enjoy. A lifetime is not enough to fulfill this scope. Even though I have food intolerance, I love to make food for others. I make all sorts of foods, even those I can’t eat and I do it with joy.
In fact – probably more than others – people with intolerances know that having good, fresh, healthy food is a privilege, something to treasure and respect every day.
When I first wrote this article, over 3 years ago, I had lots of digestive issues but I did not know I was wheat intolerant. I made these for someone who wanted to attend to one of my cooking classes and watch others making ravioli without being able to eat them. “No my dear – I said – you also must eat”.
Years later and after a lot of pondering, mistakes and experiments, I have come to accept that I’m among the many that can’t eat wheat anymore. It’s OK really, there’s lots of wonderful food to be had.
Now that I start to know a new way of cooking – gluten-free cooking – I can have as much pasta as I want, just like before. And make it for others. None can stop me, not even the gluten.
- 200 gr (7 oz) gluten-free cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (6 gr) psyllium husks
- 1 teaspoon (4 gr) xanthan powder
for the filling
- 120 gr. (4 oz) spinach or swiss chard
- 60 gr (2 oz) ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or pecorino
For the filling, blanch spinach or other leaf vegetables in boiling water for 3 min. Drain. Cool under cold water and squeeze very dry. Chop greens finely and transfer to a bowl. Mix in ricotta and grated cheese.
For the dough, you can also use a commercial GF flour. Note that each flour mix absorbs a different amount of liquid, so adjust accordingly. If you use a commercial GF flour mix, omit the xanthan and psyllium as most likely there is already a binding agent in the mix.
You can make gluten-free pasta using approximately the same method of fresh regular pasta (please see pictures here and a video here). The main difference is that the dough is soft, tears easily and dries very fast so you need to speed up the whole process.
Not only do you need to roll the dough quickly, you must keep the sheets a little thicker than those made with regular wheat dough. If the pasta sheet is too thin it will tear. When the sheets are ready, make the ravioli as soon as possible. If they dry you will not be able to fold and to seal them.
In a food processor blend the flour, oil and egg until the mixture just begins to form a ball. Depending on the size of the egg, it might be necessary to add a little hot water in order to obtain a soft but not sticky dough. Transfer the dough onto a worktop but keep it covered under a plastic bowl.
Set the rollers of a pasta machine on the widest setting. Cut a golf-ball size piece of dough and flatten it quickly into a square with a rolling pin. Feed it through the rollers. Fold the square in half and feed it through the rollers again to give it a regular shape.
Each time you fold it, dust with rice flour to prevent sticking. Don’t overwork it or it will start breaking apart.
Turn dial down to an intermediate (narrower) setting, dust with rice flour and feed the dough through rollers without folding. See details on how to do with the machine settings in the pasta dough article.
Turn the dial one last time, reducing the space between the rollers until the second to the last of the narrowest settings. Roll one last time.
Cover the sheets with a cotton tea-towel to prevent drying. Arrange a sheet of pasta on a large wooden board. Place teaspoons of the filling about 5 cm (2 inches) apart on the sheet so that you can make a “parcel” by folding it over.
Using a pasta cutter seal each parcel by cutting on three sides (the fourth is the fold). Dust a large tray or your worktop with flour and carefully place the ravioli on it taking care that they do not overlap.
Cook in salted, boiling water until al dente, 1 min. Taste them and cook max. one additional minute if necessary. GF pasta dough overcooks easily so you must be careful. Drain and toss ravioli with butter and lemon or a tomato sauce. Distribute onto 2 plates, top with grated Parmesan (or pecorino) if desired and drizzle with a fruity extra virgin olive oil.