Gluten Free Chicken Mushroom Ragu with Fusilli

Gluten Free Chicken Mushroom Ragu with Fusilli

Like many Italian recipes handed down from one generation to the next, this one has the magical ability to transform simple ingredients from the pantry into the perfect comfort food meal.  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and pre-sliced mushrooms to simplify the prep.  In fact, if you buy some diced onions in the produce section, you can put away the cutting board.  How’s that for simple?

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I was featured at the senior salon pit stop

4 Servings:

Ingredients:

  • 1 carton gluten free chicken broth (you won’t need the whole thing)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. Tuscan seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 8 oz. package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz. gluten free fusilli pasta
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving

Preparation:

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a deep nonstick skillet over medium low heat.  Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook several minutes per side.  It does not have to be cooked through at this point.

Remove the chicken to a plate and sprinkle with Tuscan seasoning.  Add the onions to the pan.  Cook for several minutes then add the tomato paste in the center.  Let it toast for a minute then stir into the onions.

Stir in the white wine, bay leaf, rosemary and cloves.  Simmer 5 minutes to reduce by half.

Add the chicken back to the pan with about 1 cup of chicken broth.  Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and shred or cut into pieces.  Add all of the mushrooms to the pan with about 3/4 cup more chicken broth.

Bring to a simmer and add back the chicken.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  While the ragu finishes, boil water for pasta.

To serve, drain the cooked pasta and toss with the ragu.  Sprinkle with cheese and Italian parsley.  Serve it right in the pan, with extra cheese for the table.

Notes ♪♫ I used Rummo Gluten Free Fusilli in this dish.  I noticed it at Whole Foods and picked it up there but it’s available on Amazon as well.  The corkscrew shape is perfect for this dish, and it cooked up perfectly to al dente.

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Gluten Free Chicken Piccata Quick Toss

Do you love Chicken Piccata?  Get all the big restaurant flavor of this classic dish with a few shortcuts that will have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, minus the gluten!

Diced chicken tenders replace cutlets in this express recipe.  Perfect for those busy weeknights when you just want to get dinner on the table, tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours! ❤️

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. chicken tenders, cut into chunks
  • 6 oz. gluten free pasta
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided plus more for finishing
  • 4 tsp. butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. small capers (more if you like)
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • grated cheese

Preparation:

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, drain and set aside.

Use a large stainless-steel skillet to brown the chicken in 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Don’t crowd the pan, if it doesn’t fit then make 2 batches.

Notice the chicken isn’t quite cooked through at this point, it will finish in the sauce at the end.

Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside, keep warm.  Add the remaining 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.

Be ready with the wine, lemon juice and chicken broth.  Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and garlic and whisk continuously.

Drizzle the liquid into the pan as you continue whisking.

Return the chicken and pasta to the pan and toss to heat through. Cook for several minutes, the liquid will thicken as it comes to a simmer.  Stir in the capers and lemon zest at the very end.

To finish, transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil, then garnish with Italian parsley and a little grated cheese.

Yum, how good does that look?  I love this kind of meal for busy weeknights.  Open a bottle of your favorite white wine for this recipe, and then pour a glass for the cook!

Notes ♪♫ I love arrowroot flour for thickening.  It makes a lump free roux every time and I use it in some of my flour blends for bread baking as well.  It’s something I always have on hand in my gluten free pantry!

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Gluten Free Italian Veal Cutlets

For a special Sunday Dinner, make your family a nice platter of Italian Veal Cutlets.  This was one of my dad’s favorite meals, I especially remember how he loved to order a veal cutlet sandwich at one of the local restaurants.  So be sure to make enough for dinner and leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

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I am fortunate to live in an Italian neighborhood where we can find thin sliced veal cutlets at the market.  At today’s prices, it’s a splurge but if you are making a nice dinner for two you can get away with less than a pound.  Serve with gluten free pasta and extra marinara sauce.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Set up 3 breading trays (or use plates), one with rice flour, one with beaten egg and one with breadcrumbs.  Preheat the oven to 350º.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with several tablespoons of olive oil.  Keep the heat on medium low.  Working quickly, dredge each piece of veal in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture.  Shake off the excess egg and dredge in the breadcrumbs.  As you finish coating each piece add it to the skillet.  Cook 2 minutes per side until nicely browned, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining slices, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.  The cutlets do not have to be cooked through at this point, they will finish in the oven.

Ladle marinara over each slice and top with grated cheese, as much as you like.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.

That’s it.  Not complicated at all.  Serve with a nice plate of pasta and some good gluten free bread to soak up the sauce and you’ve got a fine meal on the table in under an hour (they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day though).

Notes ♪♫ Veal cutlets need to be sliced very thin.  If you can’t get them this way at the store you will need to place the meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness with a meat mallet.  If veal is not in the budget, you will be happy to know you can also make this recipe with chicken.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Why can’t restaurants make a good marinara sauce?  I’m often so disappointed when ordering a simple pasta dish.  It’s the sauce.  You know that bland watery tomato sauce straight out of the can with no seasoning?  Honestly, sometimes I want to walk into the kitchen and show them how to do it!

Well, maybe I’ll just show you, dear readers, that it’s not difficult to make a marinara sauce at home.  Do you really need certified San Marzano DOP dell’agro Sarnese Nocerino tomatoes?  Ok yes, they are out of this world good, but if you’re on a budget it is perfectly fine to start with any canned plum tomatoes or sauce, you just have to jazz it up!

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I confess, to this day I still prefer Hunts Sauce for my marinara because that’s what my mother used, and it brings back such memories of our Italian Sunday dinners growing up.  If you do decide to splurge on real Certified San Marzano tomatoes, I recommend you shop around.  I paid $6.99 a can at my grocery store but later found them online for less!

Before we get started with the recipe, I will tell you that this is not the purist version of marinara sauce.  Yes, I am 100% Italian, and I add onions (gasp) and sugar to my marinara.  It’s the way I make it, and everyone loves it.   Try it, you’ll see!  So much better than jar sauce and in case you were wondering, marinara sauce is gluten free when you make it yourself and there are no mystery ingredients!

Start with whole peeled tomatoes if you like it chunky, or plain tomato sauce if you prefer a smooth sauce with no seeds.  You can use a combination of the two.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse and heat over medium low (do not use a saucepan, you want something with a wide surface that will allow the sauce to reduce).  Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, be careful not to let it burn.

Next add the tomato paste.  Using paste gives the sauce body and makes it less watery.  Make a space in the center of the pan and drop it in, then let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

Now add the sauce and/or whole peeled tomatoes (break them up with your hands first), brown sugar, pepper, basil and oregano.  I do not add sugar to a meat sauce, but for a marinara I love just a tablespoon of sugar or brown sugar per large can of tomatoes.

Stir it up, cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  A simmer mat is great for maintaining a low, gentle simmer and you don’t have to worry about burning your sauce.

When finished, remove the lid and let the sauce sit for 15 minutes.

Now that you know how to make a good marinara sauce, what restaurant favorite will you have for dinner tonight?  How about Spaghetti and Meatballs?  Chicken and shells?  With a great marinara recipe, you can recreate all those great meals right at home!

For some other great sauces, check out my Harvest Pasta Sauce, Traditional Bolognese Sauce, and Mushroom Cream Sauce!

Notes ♪♫ Fun fact, my mother would put a whole onion into her sauce, then remove it before serving “so no one would know”!  She made a huge pot of sauce every month then froze it in portions for Sunday dinner.  I still remember that big Farberware pot on the stove.  I always said my mother’s sauce was better the week after she made it, so go ahead and make a double or triple recipe to always have some on hand!  You can freeze marinara sauce for 6 months.  

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Gluten Free Macaroni and Beans

I’ve been making this fast and easy peasant dish for over 30 years.  Long before I knew I had Celiac!  After my diagnosis, I quickly realized that the pasta was the only ingredient that had to be changed to make this meal gluten free!

This meal satisfies my craving for comfort food with a minimal amount of fuss.  I serve it right in the pan for easy cleanup.

The recipe is not difficult, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry!  Here’s what you will need…

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, small dice
  • 2 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 8 oz. gluten free pasta
  • fresh basil
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Render the pancetta or bacon in a deep skillet.  Add a little olive oil, along with the celery.  Cook for 3 minutes then add the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Make a space in the center of the skillet and drop in the tomato paste.  Toast it for just a minute, then stir in the drained beans and diced tomatoes, with all of their juices.

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and fresh ground pepper to taste, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain the pasta and add it right into the skillet.  It’s peasant food, you don’t need a serving dish!  Toss well and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped fresh herbs.

Serve with grated cheese and a glass of wine.

Notes ♪♫ Is pancetta a part of your gluten free pantry?  I buy the 4 oz. packages of diced uncured pancetta and store them in the freezer.  It adds just the right amount of salt and flavor to dishes like this one!

Originally published July 19, 2022                      Updated August 8, 2023

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Gluten Free Gnocchi with Sausage

Homemade Gnocchi are my favorite pasta to prepare on a Sunday afternoon.  There is something soothing about rolling these dumplings one by one.  The joy only continues when it is time to eat!

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My long-time readers know that I am a huge fan of Better Batter.  You have all heard me sing the praises of their Artisan Flour Blend, for making yeasted bread and pizza.  But did you know, it also makes the most wonderful pasta?  Yes, this beautiful tray of gnocchi was made with the flour that I call my little miracle in a bag!

When you shop Better Batter and use my code MGFC30 at checkout, you will receive 30% off any non-sale item!

Paired with a simple sauce we had a wonderful Sunday dinner for two.

Ingredients:

  • 120g. Better Batter Artisan Flour Blend
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. egg whites
  • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • ——————————-
  • 2 Italian sausage links, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (flour through water).  Beat with the paddle attachment to form a soft dough.
  2. Bring the dough into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap.  Rest at room temperature 20 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust with gluten free flour.  Place the dough ball on a floured cutting board and divide into 4 pieces.
  4. Working with 1 section at a time, roll the dough into a long rope, 1/2″ thick.  Cut the rope into 3/4″ pieces and roll each piece over a floured gnocchi board or fork.
  5. Place the formed gnocchi on the baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to cook.

For the sauce, add olive oil to a stock pot or deep skillet and begin cooking the onions, until translucent.  Add the sausage coins and brown on both sides.  Next add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the tomato sauce, basil and oregano.  Simmer 30 minutes.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the gnocchi and cook for 3 minutes.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly, don’t overcook!

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tossing well to incorporate.

Serve with grated cheese.

Notes ♪♫ Love gnocchi?  There are so many ways to make it!  Check out this Gluten Free Gnocchi with Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower.  Or how about Potato Gnocchi with Cassava Flour?  Or, if you love sweet potato, check out this Sweet Potato Gnocchi made with white and sweet potato!

 

Gluten Free Tuscan Kale Soup

Tuscan Kale Soup, also called Zuppa Toscana is a restaurant favorite.  Made with potatoes, sausage, cannellini beans and (of course) kale, it is a hearty soup that can be a meal in itself.  Most of the ingredients are naturally gluten free, just watch labels on sausage, broth and seasonings.

The recipe makes 6-8 cup size servings or 4 dinner bowl size servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. gluten free Italian sausage (I used Premio)
  • 3.5 cups gluten free chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Tuscan seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed
  • 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • grated cheese, for serving

Preparation:

Heat a 4 qt. soup pot on medium low.  Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels.  Crumble and set aside for serving.

Next, remove sausage from casings and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula.  Drain on paper towels.

Remove all but 1 tbsp. of fat from the pot.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, diced potatoes, chicken broth and seasoning.  Simmer 15 minutes.

Drain and rinse the beans.  Add the beans and sausage back to the pot and simmer 5 minutes.

Rinse the kale thoroughly, remove ribs and stems, and tear into small pieces.  Add kale to the pot and simmer 15 minutes more (don’t worry, it will cook down).

Stir the cream in just before serving.  You can leave the soup just like this, or partially puree it with a stick blender.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with crumbled bacon and grated cheese.

Notes ♪♫ Gluten free sausage is widely available today, but it is usually smoked or fully cooked.  When I spotted this fresh Italian sausage from Premio at the market, I knew exactly what I was going to make with it.  Here is a link to the sausage I used in this recipe.  Premio Sweet Italian Sausage 

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Gluten Free Orecchiette with Pancetta and Peas

What are Orecchiette?

One of my favorite pasta shapes, orecchiette are a small, cup shaped pasta said to originate in the Puglia region of southern Italy.  Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian.  You can see why!

Forming this rustic pasta is easy and kid friendly, everyone will enjoy making it as much as they love to eat it.

A little dough goes a long way!  This recipe was more than enough for the two of us, with a little left over.  You can double or triple the ingredients as needed.  Follow the easy steps, showing you just how to make this pasta along with the classic pairing of pancetta and peas!

Ingredients:

For the pasta

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To finish

Preparation:

Whisk the egg, egg yolk and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the flour and salt and beat with the paddle attachment to form a soft dough.

Bring the dough together and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 sections.  Work with one section at a time, and keep the remaining dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Lightly flour a cutting board and roll each section of dough into a rope, 3/4″ thick.  Use a bench knife to cut the ropes into 1/2″ pieces.

Roll each piece between your palms to form round, marble sized balls.

For the final shaping, use a knife to pull the dough ball toward you, like this.

Then place it over your thumb or fingertip, gently inverting it to form the “ear” shape.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper, and dust lightly with flour.  Place the finished Orecchiette on the baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not cooking immediately.

To finish the dish, render the pancetta in 2 tbsp. olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add the peas, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and cook 5 minutes longer.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Lift the waxed paper and slide the pasta into the water.  Cook the Orecchiette 2-3 minutes, they are done when they float to the top.

Remove the orecchiette with a slotted strainer and toss with the pancetta and peas.  Add a ladle of pasta water if needed.

Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with fresh Italian parsley.

Notes ♪♫ This simple dish is made extra special with fresh, homemade pasta.  A wonderful project for a Sunday afternoon, it was a great way to end the weekend!

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Beef Guazzetto – Italian Beef Stew

Would you believe that a recipe from an Italian cooking show could be gluten free?  You might be surprised to know, that other than the pasta, there was only one ingredient swap needed to make this meal completely gluten free!

Beef Guazzetto, or Italian Beef Stew was adapted from a recent episode of Lidia’s Italy, Lidia has long been one of my favorite TV chefs!

While it’s true that some recipes require major modifications, the vast majority of meals will only need a swap of one or two ingredients to be gluten free.  Today’s recipe is a great example.

If you are thinking that you cannot enjoy your favorite meals on the gluten free diet, think again.  Or better yet, let me inspire you!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. stew beef (chuck), cut into cubes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour (you can use rice flour)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 small carrots, minced or grated
  • 2 small celery stalks, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • gluten free pasta
  • grated cheese, for serving
  • fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Preparation:

First, make a “soffritto” by pulsing the onion, carrot and celery in a food processor or electric chopper.

Dry the beef with paper towels, this helps with browning.

Place the beef cubes in a food safe plastic bag with 1/4 cup gluten free flour and shake to coat.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven and begin browning the beef.  Don’t crowd the pan, brown in batches if needed.

Leave those caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan, they are full of flavor!  Set the beef aside and keep warm.

Add more olive oil to the pan with the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, then clear a space in the center for the tomato paste.

Toast the tomato paste for a minute, then stir it into the vegetables.  Add the wine, using a spatula to scrape up those browned bits at the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the beef cubes back to the pan, with the bay leaves.

Stir in the chicken stock, cover and simmer on lowest heat for 2 hours.  Add more stock if needed.

Stir the sauce frequently, be sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.  A simmer mat is great for keeping sauces on a low simmer.  As it cooks, you will see the stew gradually thickening.

After 2 hours, this is what it will look like.  You will still have distinct chunks of beef, but some will partially break down and become one with the sauce.  It is incredible!

A meal like this deserves an extra special pasta.  I decided to get out my KitchenAid® and make some fresh rigatoni.  Read about how I made it here! Of course, you can use any gluten free pasta you have on hand.  One of my favorites is Jovial brown rice pasta.

To plate, spoon cooked pasta into serving bowls and ladle the Beef Guazzetto over the top.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and fresh Italian parsley.

Notes ♪♫ An economical cut like beef chuck becomes melt in your mouth tender using this slow cooked, braising method.  With today’s soaring food prices, it is a great way to stretch your grocery budget.

 

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Gluten Free Italian Wedding Soup

This soup takes me back more than 60 years, to my Italian grandmother’s kitchen.  As a child, she would make this for me all the time.  So many little meatballs!  I was only nine years old when she passed away, but the flavors of this soup are etched in my mind.

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Of course, those tiny meatballs are the star of the recipe.  My younger self most definitely did not appreciate the love that went into making them!  Those tender little bites are what I remember best, so for my gluten free recreation I used ground veal.  Just one taste and I knew I had made the right choice!

Note ♪ If ground veal is not available, substitute ground beef, pork, turkey, etc.

Believe it or not, there were only 2 ingredient swaps needed to make Italian Wedding Soup gluten free.  First, the breadcrumbs.  I am a big fan of Aleia’s gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs, and they were perfect in the meatballs.  Second, the soup pasta.  I was thrilled to find Gluten Free Acini de Pepe at Bella Italia Food Store this year.  It is close to the pastina shape that my grandmother would have used, and you really can’t tell that it’s gluten free!

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs
For the Soup
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • 32 oz. carton gluten free chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 6 oz. gluten free soup pasta
  • 6 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan for serving

Preparation:

Combine the first 5 meatball ingredients (everything but the olive oil) in a bowl and mix well with your hands.

Use a half teaspoon to form tiny little meatballs, about 3/4″ diameter.  Roll them between your palms and set them on a plate or sheet of waxed paper.

Heat a nonstick skillet with a little olive oil and brown the meatballs for just a few minutes over medium low heat.  Don’t crowd the pan, cook the meatballs in batches if needed.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the meatballs and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Note ♪ You can prepare the soup up to this point the night before, just refrigerate the meatballs and continue with the recipe when ready.

For the soup, add the onions, celery and carrots to a soup pot with a little olive oil.  Stir until the veggies begin to release their liquid, then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.

Add the broth, stock and seasonings.  Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.  Cook the pasta separately, according to package directions.

Turn off the heat.  Add the baby spinach and stir to wilt.

Return the meatballs to the pot to warm through.

Drain and rinse the pasta under warm water and add it to the soup.

I find that gluten free soup pasta can be gummy, so it is best cooked separately, drained and rinsed to remove some of that starch.

Serve with finely grated cheese, use the good stuff!

This soup was just the thing for a cold winter evening!  It would be a wonderful first course for a holiday dinner.

Friends, I hope you enjoyed this post!  I know that my grandmother would be so pleased that I made this soup in her memory.

My Grandmother Caterina and I, 1960

Be sure and check out some of my other Gluten Free Soups as well as some helpful links on where to find Gluten Free Soup Pasta.

Notes ♪♫ In some recipes for Italian Wedding Soup, the raw meatballs are dropped right into the soup.  I like the extra flavor you get from browning, and it removes some of the fat at the same time.

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