Sunday, March 18, 2007
Endess pasta-bilities, Part 3
Ah... the world is becoming a more friendly place to those of us with food allergies. T, the rockin' food buyer at Surfas (a chef's paradise in Culver City) showed me some non-wheat pastas that she purchased with me in mind. What a bud (a shoutout here to T). Noodles are one of the things that lead me to the Dark Side (see "The Noodles Got Me" entry below), so I'm always excited to try the latest non-wheat/non-gluten western-style pasta! In the past, I have tried rice pasta (mushy and flavorless), lentil pasta (dense, beany-tasting and mushy), and up until today, the winner has been Ancient Grains' corn and quinoa blend pasta (see October 2006 entry).
Today ladies and gentleman, a new winner has emerged! Sgambaro, an all-corn spaghetti made in Italy, is the most similar to wheat pasta that I've ever had. The texture, the chewiness and mouthfeel were so good that I almost forgot it wasn't regular pasta. Only the dominant corn flavor and above-average yellow color made me really notice...that and the lack of subtle nuttiness of wheat pasta. Fabulous. This kind of quality and craft from Italy does not cheap though,about $5, so I'll save it for special pasta occasions. (Somebody call Hallmark, there's a greeting card idea in here somewhere.)
Note: when you're on any kind of restrictive diet, try to also treat yourself to your favorite textures as well as tastes. Because I am allergic to dairy, I really miss rich and creamy things, and because I can't have wheat I find that I miss chewy foods. When you can address these issues occasionally, you won't feel quite so deprived. It's a subtle thing that might not occur to you, but it makes a difference. :)
I sauced this chewy goodness simply, with a smooth Moroccan olive oil, shallots, ground pepper and my favorite Maldon sea salt. The rest of the pasta was accompanied by "Leftovers Supreme" -- meaning whatever was still in my fridge when I made it. In this case, some broccoli and tuna ventresca (the belly cut) from Trader Joes. My lunch was toothsome, satisfying and a bright point in a grey, damp and dreary day.
Surfas Gourmet Food and Restaurant Supply
8777 Washington Blvd. (cross street National)