Gluten Free Pasta with Grilled Vegetables
If you grill a batch of vegetables, it’s easy to serve them in a variety of ways – such as this Gluten Free Pasta with Grilled Vegetables!
Sometimes I get cute adorable little vegetables… And I just cannot bring myself to chop them up into chunks and stew them. I need to keep the appearance. I like to grill them, as that keeps not only the shape, but a distinct texture. (And I wrote about that four years ago!)
But then, what do I do with the grilled vegetables? Well, I can marinate them (or not…) and add them to salad. I can serve them as is, as a side dish. And I love to toss them with pasta.
But, well – pasta has been an issue for me since I went gluten free… This is very much a matter of individual taste – I know people who prefer brown rice pasta to other whole grain varieties, for instance, but we like our pasta to have a firm bite, and no matter what technique I tried, I could not get the texture I wanted. (Mind you, I’m fine with rice pasta in macaroni and cheese, or anything else where I don’t require that al dente bite you traditionally get from durum wheat.)
I’ve learned that, for me, at least, the answer seems to be one part ingredients, and one part technique. We prefer corn pasta, or at least blends of corn – they seem to have more bite. (I’m not recommending any individual brand, or at least, not yet – we haven’t eaten any often enough, or done any real comparison, and I know that availability varies from one place to another. We can’t always get a second package of the same brand…)
And even with that, I’ve become a fan of the no-boil method. (Which isn’t quite no boil, but…) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add your pasta, return it to a boil, stir, and boil for just one minute – then cover it, turn the heat off (on an electric stove you might need to remove it from the burner) and let it sit for the usual cooking time. (Which for me is always a minute less than the package says – your
mileage taste may vary…) Then drain and use as you would. I find this avoids the problem I’ve had of the ends going mushy before the center cooks, and helps with any gluten free pasta I’ve found.
You certainly don’t have to use cute little vegetables – this will work perfectly well with slices of more typically sized ones. In this case, I sliced my eggplants in half lengthwise, and then sliced the squash to more or less match the thickness. I would suggest cutting larger vegetables about half an inch thick, if you’re not trying to mach something. I have more detailed instructions here – I really need to upgrade that post a bit, now that I have more experience but I think the directions are still clear enough… In this case, though, I used olive oil and some pureed oregano, instead of the sesame oil I suggested then. While I was at it, I grilled a whole collection of vegetables, and put them aside for later.
So – now to the actual recipe. I had my grilled vegetables. I also had some small tomatoes which I chose not to cook in advance – this gives me a variety of textures, as well as flavors.
Select rotini, or other bite sized pasta. Cook it and drain it. To make life easier, do that first – to make the meal faster, cook it while you do the rest of the recipe, but only if you’ll be able to keep an eye on timing. I find gluten free pasta less forgiving than wheat (though this may just be my inexperience with it) so this time, I cooked it first, drained and rinsed it with cold water to stop the cooking, and left it in the colander while I cooked the rest.
Heat a saute pan, and add some olive oil – a little more than you would usually use just to grease the pan. One of my tomatoes was small enough to use whole – I would probably cook most grape or pear tomatoes whole – I cut the others in half. (And I’d probably quarter most plum tomatoes. I wouldn’t use slicers at all for this.) Use your judgement about your tomatoes… Toss them in the pan and stir them around, just enough to start heating them through.
Then add your grilled vegetables. I used eggplant and summer squash – mini patty pan and one little lita – because that’s what I had, but anything that grills well works. I did add a little grilled red onion that doesn’t show in the pictures – my original post shows leeks, which would be delicious… I think you would never go wrong with mushrooms, though they change the dish a little. Make sure all the pieces are bite sized – especially if you cook slices of a larger eggplant, for instance, you’ll need to cut it, but even a small patty pan or eggplant might need to be cut in half. Stir the grilled vegetables around in the pan, until heated through.
Then add your cooked and drained pasta. Stir it all together well (and if you have let it sit a while, as I did, make sure it heats through.) Sprinkle that with parmigiano (or Pecorino Romano, or your preferred grating cheese) stir again, and serve at once. Pass more cheese for people to add.
As written, this is a side dish – terrific with grilled chops, fish, steak, roast chicken, any protein dish that does not lend itself to sauce. But you can also toss cooked meat or tofu in with the pasta to make it a one dish meal. On the whole, this is one to understand as a pattern – vary it as needed to suit yourself!
Gluten Free Pasta with Grilled Vegetables
- 1/2 lb. Gluten Free Rotini or other bite sized pasta
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 c small tomatoes cherry, grape, etc. in bite sized pieces
- 1 c grilled vegetables in bite sized pieces
- Parmigiana cheese grated
- Cook and drain pasta, set aside.
- Heat oil in a saute pan. Add tomatoes to hot pan, and stir. Let heat through, but don't allow to cook.
- Add grilled vegetables and stir. Add pasta, stir to distribute, then allow to heat through, stirring often.
- Sprinkle 2 T cheese over all, stir in.
- Serve, passing more cheese for people to add.
Make sure all vegetables are in bite sized pieces, to make it easy to eat with the rotini.