Pasta seems the perfect medium for fresh seasonal produce. It allows the complex flavors of fresh ingredients to shine, while gently caressed in pillows of soft pasta.
Pasta is one of my family’s preferred meals. And although I indulge them once in a blue moon with honest to goodness fresh homemade pasta, often, I use a high quality prepared gluten-free pasta. I’ve always had one particular favorite brand; now I have two.
Typically, I don’t post product reviews unless it’s one of my few absolute faves; and it meets my quality ingredient standards. But when Cappello’s asked me to review their line of gluten-free, grain free pastas and cookie dough, I happily agreed.
Not only is each Cappello’s products delicious in every way, the company itself is impressive. I received a custom eco-cooler of product and immediately thought to myself, what can I do with this box? I didn’t have to do anything except attach the return shipping label that was included and then drop it off at the post office. What a fabulous way to re-use and re-purpose!
Here is a short review of each product:
Gnocchi: Earth friendly, gluten-free and grain free, Cappello’s has produced a most tantalizing line of products. I prepared the Gnocchi with a classic Italian herb brown butter. The Gnocchi are soft and fairly pillow like, just as you would expect. They’re made with almond flour and potato which gives a smooth and creamy texture, but feel a bit more dense than conventional Gnocchi. They were a huge success in my house. I now have requests for more Cappello’s Gnocchi.
Lasagna: The lasagna sheets are easy to use, especially once they’ve warmed to room temperature. No need to boil these noodles, just assemble your ingredients and bake. The ease of preparation is impressive, as is the finished product. Made with mostly almond flour, the pasta is a bit more dense than conventional pasta but it doesn’t feel too heavy. It also held up well to my spinach ricotta base and I think would be fantastic for meat sauces and squash lasagna’s as well.
Cookie Dough: The cookie dough is tastefully flavored and the cookies bake in 10-13 minutes. A gluten-free, grain free cookie that tastes delicious? Now there’s a novelty! I’m completely in love with these little treats and aim to get my hands on a few more packages.
Fettuccine: Last but certainly not least, the Fettuccine is every bit as delicious and easy to prepare as the other products. Again, an almond flour base that is more dense than conventional pasta but still light enough in texture be enjoyed in a pasta dish.
It held up beautifully to my Fettuccine Caprese with lovely bite that feels like conventional pasta and the chew was delicious. My pasta test has always been “how good does this pasta taste with butter and grated parmesan alone?” This fettuccine passed the butter and cheese test with flying colors.
Although an outstanding product, it is priced higher than most gluten free pastas. That being said, I’m all about quality and flavor. As well, one must remember Cappello’s products aren’t just gluten free, they are grain free. For those of us who cannot eat grain of any kind on a regular basis, or for those who prefer to consume a paleo or mostly paleo diet, this is the perfect alternative.
And I suppose I could also make the argument that if we left out a few of those $4 latte’s each week, we could certainly afford to use a higher quality pasta for the stellar meals we create. “Ahem”… my little soap box speech for the week.
Cappello’s products are carried in a variety of markets, mostly in Colorado, however, I’ve found them here in Oregon and Washington State. Check your local natural market, co-op market or Whole Foods. If you can’t find them there, you can order on the Cappello’s website. Better yet, ask your favorite market to stock Cappello’s products.
I know this was an extra long post. Thanks for reading! I’m usually not this chatty, unless of course you’re sitting across from me at the table. My friends can tell you this is true.
Enjoy this lovely seasonal dish for dinner or lunch. I think it’s best when it’s served warm – when the fresh mozzarella balls become a little melted and gooey.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
1 package Cappello’s gluten-free, grain free Fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 15 ounce container Bocconcini or Ciliegini Mozzarella balls (the small size)
1 good size bunch fresh basil, cut chiffonade or torn
Handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped (oregano, Italian parsley, sage)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil ( a little extra for drizzling)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Fresh grated parmesan for garnish if desired
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, toss in the handful of fresh chopped herbs and pinch of red pepper flakes. Let them cook for about thirty seconds to one minute. You want the herbs to release their gorgeous scented oils.
Next stir in the garlic and let it cook for about one minute. Take the pan off the heat and toss in the cherry tomatoes. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, you just want to warm them in the herb and garlic olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the pasta. It doesn’t take long to cook the pasta, only about 45 seconds to one minute. I cooked it a little longer, maybe two minutes. Mostly because I forgot to set my timer. It turned out beautifully.
Once the pasta is done, drain it, put it back into the pasta pot and toss it with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Gently toss the pasta with the tomato, herb and garlic olive oil, mozzarella balls and half the fresh basil. Squeeze with fresh lemon and then turn the pasta onto a serving platter or bowl. Garnish with the remaining fresh basil.
Serve warm with fresh grated parmesan. I adore this pasta served with fresh green salad or lettuce wedge and a crisp dry pinot grigio or chianti.