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 Trofie Pasta

Trofie are a thin, twisted pasta shape popular in Liguria, Italy.  They are formed by rolling small pieces of dough on a flat surface, or between the palms of your hands.  Twisting into the final shape can be done using a wooden skewer, or a bench knife.

To make the Trofie Pasta, it was important that the dough be smooth and supple, easy to roll and shape.  A tall order for gluten free!  I created this gluten free Trofie with the Artisan Flour Blend from Better Batter.

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

The pasta was delicious!  The color and texture of the dough are reminiscent of whole wheat pasta.  Look closely and you can see flecks of grain in the dough.

The ingredients for this recipe will make a small batch, more than enough for 2 people.  We had it for dinner and there were leftovers.  You can double or triple the recipe for a large family.

Ingredients:

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Preparation:

Whisk together the flour and the salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk thoroughly.  Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with the paddle attachment on low until the dough comes together.

Increase the speed and mix for 6-8 minutes until a smooth dough forms.

Press the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Work with one section at a time, and keep the rest covered to prevent it from drying out.

On a floured cutting board, roll each section of dough into a long rope 1/2″ thick.  Cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces.  Be sure to keep the pieces small and uniform, so they will all cook at the same time.

Roll each piece between the palms of your hands into a long thin shape, tapering the ends.  Flour your hands as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

Working with one piece at a time, hold a wooden skewer or bench knife at a 90-degree angle, pressing lightly as you roll it over the dough to twist it into the final shape.

As you form each piece, slide it off the skewer onto a baking sheet lined with floured wax paper.  Can you believe that little ball of dough made all this pasta?

Don’t overcrowd the tray and try to space out the pasta so it doesn’t stick together.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta, stir and cover until the water returns to a boil.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly.  When it floats to the top it’s done, about 3 minutes for al dente.  Don’t overcook it!

To help the pasta keep its spiral shape, use a spider strainer (instead of a colander) to gently remove it from the pot and transfer to a serving bowl.  Doesn’t that look wonderful?

Top with your favorite sauce and finish with grated cheese and parsley.

The twisted shape holds onto sauce beautifully.  Leftovers the next day had excellent texture when reheated in the microwave.  I had so much fun making these!

Notes ♪If you are missing whole wheat pasta on the gluten free diet (I know I was) the taste and texture of this pasta will make you smile.  Always follow food safety guidelines for fresh pasta made with eggs, if you are not going to cook the pasta immediately it should be refrigerated!

Originally posted 05/2019                                               Updated 03/2022

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Italian Skirt Steak Rolls

This is another bucket list recipe that I have had on the back burner.  It’s one of those dishes that is so easy to prepare but looks like you fussed for hours.  The little bundles of steak, prosciutto and cheese are amazing!

The Lazy Gastronome

Skirt Steak Rolls may remind you of another bundled meat dish, Bracciole.  But while Bracciole is simmered in tomato sauce for hours on low heat, these Skirt Steak Rolls are cooked very quickly over high heat.

Was it difficult to make this recipe gluten free?  NO, because the ingredients have always been gluten free! 

When starting the gluten free diet, you may be tempted to throw away all your old cook books- don’t!  There are so many recipes that you have eaten all your life that were always gluten free, or just need a change of one or two ingredients.  In time you will realize there are so many meals you can enjoy that are gluten free with no crazy ingredients to purchase!

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For this recipe I used an oven safe grill pan, to sear the steak rolls on the stove top and finish them in the oven.  One pan for easy cleanup!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. skirt steak
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 oz. prosciutto
  • 2 oz. sliced provolone cheese cut into strips
  • ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

First gather your ingredients.  Mince the garlic and parsley, and combine with 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Leave a few sprigs of parsley for garnish.

Lay the steak out on a cutting board covered with plastic wrap and trim away any white membrane or visible fat.

Cover the meat with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/4″ thickness.

Cut the steak into strips, 6-8″ long.

Spread the garlic mixture evenly over the steak.

Layer the steak with prosciutto slices and top with cheese.

Now roll each piece into a bundle and secure with toothpicks.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º and season the meat bundles with fresh ground pepper.  I don’t add salt, because the cheese and prosciutto have plenty of sodium.

Coat an oven safe grill pan with olive oil spray and heat to medium (you can also do this step on an outdoor grill).  Begin cooking the steak rolls in the hot pan, about 1 minute per side.

When you have some good color on the outside, transfer the pan into the oven to finish cooking.

Remove them when the internal temperature reaches 135º for medium (use a thermometer).  Tent with foil and rest 5 minutes before serving (temperature should reach 140º after resting 5 minutes).  The key to this recipe is not to overcook the meat.  A quick sear in a hot pan then finish it off in the oven, done.

Garnish with fresh parsley, and dinner is served.  I made a side of peas and a simple risotto.

Mr. Cucina really loved this meal.  Two days later he was still telling me how good it was!  Looks like I got an A+  ⭐⭐⭐

Notes ♪♫  When choosing cold cuts, I look for gluten free brands like Boar’s Head or Primo Taglio.  When just a small amount of prosciutto is called for in a recipe like this one, it can be convenient (and safer) to purchase in a sealed 3 oz. package rather than having it sliced at the deli.

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Polenta

If you are gluten free like me, you might be looking for a change of pace from the usual potato and rice sides.  Enter Polenta!  Today I’ll teach you how to prepare this humble porridge and offer a few ideas on how to serve it.  The cooking method is very much like making risotto, and can take a full 40 minutes for regular, coarse ground corn meal.  For busy nights you can also find quick cooking polenta that takes much less time.  Whichever you choose, be sure the polenta is labeled gluten free.  Here’s how to make it…

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup gluten free polenta
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Preparation:

Heat 5 cups of water in a saucepan.  In a second saucepan, combine 3 cups of the heated water, salt and bay leaf.  Gradually stream in the Polenta, whisking with each addition.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.

As the liquid becomes absorbed, add the remaining water 1 ladle at a time.  Continue to stir frequently until it reaches the desired thickness, about 40 minutes for regular and 5 minutes for quick cooking polenta.  At the end of the cook time, remove the bay leaf and stir in butter and Parmesan.

Yes, it’s that easy.  So now that you have made a batch of Polenta, how will you serve it?  You could simply enjoy it with extra Parmesan as a side dish.

Or top it with Crock-Pot braised beef for a hearty Italian dinner.

Another option, Beef Short Ribs with Polenta is a beautiful fall dish!

And finally, my personal favorite, the leftovers!  Once cooked, Polenta will begin to firm up almost immediately.  Before that happens, pour it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.  Later you can slice it into wedges and grill for about 8 minutes per side.

I hope I’ve given you a few new ideas for your gluten free dinner rotation.  Try a new dish and keep your menu interesting!

Notes: ♪♫ Polenta is made from coarse corn meal.  While corn itself is gluten free, cross-contact with other grains that contain gluten may occur during processing.  Be sure to check ingredient labels and if polenta is not labeled gluten free don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer.

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