Pork, Shitake Mushrooms with Amaranth Pasta

Pasta Senza Glutine

My first attempt at making gluten-free pasta used maize flour, egg, guar gum and water. On the second attempt, I had this just about the way I wanted it and, until today, had done no further development since. A disturbed night, unable to sleep, had me thinking about menu ideas; one thing that came to mind in my half-awake state was to try to find a use for the amaranth flour that my wife bought recently. Pasta came to mind, so today saw the realisation of this half-dream.

A taste of the flour told me that I might be dealing with a fairly strong flavour, so I decided to use a blend of amaranth and rice flours. After much fiddling around and adjustment to get the right "feel" from the dough, I arrived at this formulation:

The Mix

  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon guar gum

If I were doing this again, I would probably cut back considerably on the water, and only add rice flour until I obtained the right consistency.

After getting a mixture in the bowl sufficiently dry to handle, I kneaded it by hand, adding rice flour until things felt right, giving me the mixture listed above.

The resultant pasta had little elasticity – I attempted to extrude it as spirals, but these just sagged and looked rather pathetic, so I changed dies to a medium maccharoni, which came out reasonably well.

Cooking

The pasta was left to dry for an hour or so, and was added to a pan (I use a sauteuse) in which I had cooking a couple of pork fillets, a medium-sized brown onion, a medium-sized clove of my own garlic, a punnet of shitake mushrooms, a few dried porcini mushrooms, olive oil, salt, pepper and – of course – water.

After about five minutes of cooking, I tasted the pasta to see how it was getting on, and found it was actually overcooked to my taste – quite different from my maize-based recipe.

The Verdict

Apart from the pasta being done the "English" way (overcooked), this was a very pleasant dish, enjoyed by us both. My wife preferred the flavour of the pasta – which was not unlike that of buckwheat – to the maize recipe, somewhat to my annoyance. (The maize forms better and doesn’t make such a mess of the pasta machine.)

Footnote

Pasta senza glutine is the Italian for gluten-free pasta.