I’ve exhausted this statement, but I was really worried about not being able to eat pasta when I heard I’d have to go gluten free. However, with all the delicious gluten free pastas available nowadays I’m happy to report I can make my pasta and eat it too! For a while, I was starting to think that the Gluten Free Pasta Challenge we had a number of weeks ago wasn’t entirely a fair event. See, we smothered the pasta in a scrumptious bolognese sauce. Yes, I truly believe we could have been chowing down on some cardboard and bark and still have been as happy as clams.
So the real test was to cook up some pasta and consume it in a “sauceless” fashion. Haven’t eaten sauceless pasta (or are unsure)? It tends to be some of the tastiest pasta available if done right and with fresh ingredients. Some of my favourite examples include sauteed mushrooms, Italian sausage, & peas mixed with cooked Farfalle; roasted tomatoes & goat cheese tossed with spaghetti; and lets not forget Linguine with Garlic Oil & Pancetta. What these all have in common is their lack of a traditional “sauce” – they are typically held together by a bit of pasta water and cheese. And let me tell you, if you pick the best ingredients, and ones that meld together into a perfect symphony, this is a hit every time.
Tonight we found out that gluten free pasta really is that good – it passed the “sauceless” test. Tonight we smothered some Rice & Amaranth Penne in sharp Pecorino Romano cheese, spicy fresh-cracked pepper, and pungent truffle oil. The tastes danced on my tongue as I quickly devoured my first bites. And as I saw my plate dwindling, I slowly enjoyed each bite, reveling in the fact that I knew for sure I would never go without pasta in my life.
Truffled Pecorino & Pepper Penne
Yes, truffle oil is a bit of a luxury item. If you’re unsure about whether or not you like truffles, I would suggest trying it somewhere first. It has a strong umami flavour akin to earthy, wild mushrooms – but still entirely like nothing else on this Earth. I, myself, do not purchase truffle oil – but I am a lucky girl who receives a bottle of it for Christmas every year. You could definitely leave it out of the recipe and have a delicious plate of cheesy, peppery pasta. In this event, I would suggest the use of butter in place of the truffle oil – not extra virgin olive oil, and definitely not margarine. Also…it would no longer be called “Truffled” and really wouldn’t be like this recipe…but I’m sure you already figured that out.
2 cups uncooked penne, your favourite gluten free kind
1 Tbsp black truffle oil
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (divided)
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
Cook penne according to pasta directions – ensuring that you salt the water. When penne is cooked, drain quickly and put in a serving bowl (by this, I mean don’t try to drain off all the water; it’s good to get some semi-wet pasta in the bowl; alternately you could just save some pasta water if needed to loosen the completed dish. Your call).
Toss the cooked penne with the truffle oil, pepper, salt, 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano, and the parsley. Have a taste and see if you need a bit more truffle oil, pepper or salt – add to desired taste. Top each portion with the remaining 1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano. Serve hot or at room temperature
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a dinner.