Thursday, July 31, 2008

Awesome Gluten-Free Pasta!

Above is a picture of this small-batch wonderfully delicious designer gluten-free pasta (fettuccine), prior to cooking, that I recently had the pleasure of eating. It was fabulous!

My wife and I both agree that it is the best gluten-free pasta we have ever tried. In addition, my wife has since consumed "real" pasta (the standard wheat / semolina type) from a well known Italian restaurant, and she concluded that this gluten-free pasta was better than the "normal" pasta she had at the restaurant. I'd say that is a remarkable achievement for a gluten-free pasta to say the least!

This particular spinach-basil-accent gluten-free pasta is by Kelly Smith [UPDATE: Kelly's business did not survive; her pasta was quite good, but the company is long gone]; I left the remainder of this blog post here just to show what is possible with gluten-free pasta. (mike: April, 2011).

The only down-side is that because Kelly makes it only at certain times, you need to get "in the queue" essentially. In fact, when I told Kelly that I planned to review this pasta, she said:
"You are welcome to mention [the pasta] if you want to. But please mention that right now - pasta is something we do only when we aren't swamped with baking [other items]. We have people who sign up for it - we just let them know when we do a run of it. I never have any leftovers. That's why it took me so long to get a batch to you."
I can understand why there are no leftovers. It certainly is a treat to have a gluten-free pasta this good, and I am willing to wait for a while and get in line or whatever :)

I was quite impressed by the presentation - both dry, and cooked. It looked wonderful. And, even more impressive is how it lived up to its looks and tast fantastic! The *only* thing I noticed that was not exactly like "real" pasta was that you had to perhaps be a bit more careful with watching the cooking time, and you had to be sure to rinse it well after cooking for the best texture. I also found that, as strange as this sounds, the pasta improved with a little "resting period" as it sat on my plate (between my first taste, and the time it took me to take the second picture above, which by the way, is prior to me adding any sauce or pesto, etc).

This product review and evaluation is coming from someone who rarely eats pasta (gluten-free), mainly because I don't need useless carbs in my diet, and because most pasta on the market (dry, commercialized, pre-packaged stuff) isn't good enough to entice me into eating it. I've tried soy pasta, white rice and brown rice pasta, quinoa (not good), and pasta with lupin flour (which Bi-Aglut uses, and is rather decent, but is difficult to find recently). But, none of those main-stream commercial options offer nearly the "real" pasta experience. As such, I save my carbohydrate (self-imposed) quota for my gluten-free desserts instead: cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, smoothies, and so forth. But, Kelly's pasta is good enough to actually make me want gluten-free pasta now!

I don't know all the exact ingredients she uses in her pasta (perhaps that's a trade secret for something so good), but I do know it is clearly gluten-free, and that it is also corn-free (since Kelly is allergic to corn). Regardless of what is in there beyond the basil and spinach components, the fact is that the end result is quite wonderful.

There is perhaps hardly any reason to add a summary paragraph, since my determination is most obvious: this small-batch designer "homemade" type high-quality gluten-free pasta is superb! Now if only Kelly could find a way to expand her business and keep up with demand for pasta in addition to her desserts, breads, pizza crusts, and other wondeful gluten-free diet items.


David said...

The other large problem is that they don't ship out of state. However, you can call one of their local retailers and purchase it for $8 per 6 oz. bag and they'll ship to you. There were 11 bags in stock when I just called (I purchased 4 of them).

The phone number of the retailer is 419-775-1722 (Comfrey Corner, a health food store in Ohio somewhere)

Jon said...

Those DO look delicious. I'd like to know the noodle ingredients. Cindy has been hooked on shirataki noodles, but I could care less for them. I've tried the brown rice pasta, corn pasta, quinoa pasta (not the best), and probably a few more and have been pleasantly surprised by the taste, but I've always liked any type of pasta :) (except shirataki noodles..)

It's been awhile since I've been here - just came over from our Visit a Random Gluten Free Blogger Widget. Good to see you're still active!

Anonymous said...

it looks like the usual mid-western style, home-made fresh cut noodles, typically made for beef and noodles. And delicious, I might add.

I've eaten that style a lot growing up. Grandma would always make a batch for us. Glad to see it translates to the GF model. I'll have to try some mahsef.

Sue said...

Susan said...
The fettucini look amazing!
A really terrific new 100% Corn Pasta Gluten-Free is made by Sam Mills. It is the real deal when it comes to texture and taste and I've found it online at for less than $2.00 for a full 1lb bag!!! Rigatoni, Penne, Conchiette, Tubetti just to name a few of the available shapes.

tcluthe said...

Gaetano's Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ just started making homemade gluten free penne pasta. They use a combination of chick pea flour and rice flour, and it tastes great.

From what the owner told me they will be putting it in their online cart and start shipping anywhere in the country next week.

Anonymous said...

They've gone out of business :-(

Anonymous said...

MumblyPegs closed

Unintentional Picky Eater said...

Another pasta that is amazing is Tikiyada (sp?) you can find it in Whole Foods and often at local grocery store depending, but it is by far the best pasta I have ever had! Best part is you can serve it to people who are not gluten free and they won't know the difference. The texture of the pasta is very nice I have yet to have it fall apart on me after cooking it, and cooking it is not like a science experiment like other gluten free pastas!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear company has closed. Unfortunate.

kbzonzito said...

I tried "Andean Dream" pasta (you can find it at whole foods), it's better than Tinkyiada..., by far the best possible choice in the dried gluten free pasta range.

Anonymous said...

You can buy fresh gluten free pasta in Tacoma or Puyallup farmers markets (Washington). Pacific Pasta makes pasta Basil Garlic Buckwheat Fettuccine that is fab. They make it the day before the market.

Texas Girl said...

I have been searching for a gluten-free pasta (spaghetti noodles) that compares to regular spaghetti noodles in taste AND texture and I finally found it !! I happened into a small mom and pop type health food store near Dallas and asked what their best selling gluten-free pasta was and she pointed to a brand that I had never seen and said that they ordered this because many customers had asked for it. It is said to be Europe's best selling gluten-free pasta (that claim is on the bag). The brand is called "Schar" and they have been around since 1922 and have been making gluten-free for 25 years. The listed ingredients are: corn and rice flours, pea protein isolate, mono and diglycerides of edible fats. It has 1.5 grams of fat per serving and no saturated fat. Anyway, we did a taste test between the Schar and Tinkyada (our favorite until we discovered Schar) and Schar blew it away in our taste test. The Schar seriously tastes just like regular pasta. I saw that Amazon sells it in 5-pack bundles for around $18.00but I paid around $3.00 for it at that health store so I will be going back there.

Mike Eberhart said...

Texas Girl,
I agree: Schar is rather good pasta. I have blogged about it, and it is one of my favorites. I too acquire it from Amazon (and WalMart when they have it -- some do, some do not).

Thanks for the comments. Also, your comment prompted me to update this OLD posting since the pasta mentioned in this blog is no longer available.


Texas Girl said...

Hi Mike,

You found the Schar at Walmart? I am going to take a package of it up to the Walmart near us and ask if they will order it. I went back to that health food store today and my previous price quote was a bit off as they actually sell it for $3.99 per 12 oz. bag so I guess Amazon's price is not bad.

Mike Eberhart said...

Texas Girl,
Yep... surprising as it is, we found the Schar pastas at a few WalMart stores. I was getting it regularly at a Super Walmart in Ohio (before moving to Texas), and I have encountered it at some other locations too. But, it is totally inconsistent as to whether a given store will have or not. I was getting the Schar penne version (my fav).

I hope you are successful in having your local Walmart get the product in stock. I am rather sure the price we were paying was between $3.29-$3.49/box for the penne, and that was as recent as 6 months ago (the last time I acquired some at a Walmart). It was a LOT cheaper than other grocery stores. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Le Veneziane is the best brand out there for GF diets...I've bought spaghetti, fettucini and ditalini...they are all terrific my family doesn't even know or can tellt he difference. A must buy! Although one argument is that the spaghetti isn't thick enough...sorry I'm italian so I'm used to the big noodles!