Introduction: Gluten Free Stuffed Pasta and Cabbage Salad
This tutorial was inspired by an article I read from America's Test kitchen on store bought Gluten free pastas. Curious, I looked at the ingredient list for the top rated brand and it was organic whole grain brown rice and water. I looked at other GF brands (not the ones the test kitchen mentioned) but what was available in my area and their ingredient list was organic whole grain rice flour and water. Hmmm wondering if the pasta stood out above the rest, because of the method they used, I decided to play around with different methods of making whole grain rice flour to make pasta from scratch and bought some organic brown rice and brown rice flour to compare to what rice flour looks like. After making 4 batches of grainy pasta that fell apart after a couple of minutes of cooking; I was disappointed to say the least. It was the last batch that was the turning point that lead to this recipe.
The first batch I made by grinding the flour in a coffee grinder and the texture was grainy, difficult to roll, and not worth the effort to cook.
Second batch I cooked the brown rice in a hot dry skillet until the rice began to pop like pop corn, then let it cool enough to grind in the Ninja only to discover it was no different than the previous batch.
The third batch I tried it again by adding 2 eggs. Same problem, grainy dough, but this time I used parchment paper to roll the dough and it helped but it cooked up the same as the other ones. I even tried to dry the pasta!
The fourth batch I used Basmati rice and 3 eggs and it had a very nice dough feel to it but the grainy texture was still noticeable and although it rolled out better than the previous dough it still fell apart after cooking. By then I was very disappointed that my efforts did not pay off. I decided to cook the rice and blend it with eggs and see if that would make a difference. Nope. So I decided to make fried pasta dough instead. It worked! I have blooper pictures at the very end of this tutorial if you would like to see the problems.
Step 1: Ingredients and Utensils
For this recipe I tried whole grain brown rice and did not like the texture or flavor. It had a very bitter taste. I was happy with the flavor and texture of the Basmati so that is the one I recommend for this recipe. This recipe was formulated to stretch leftovers into another meal. I did not use a lot of seasonings to keep it simple, salt pepper, dried thyme, and fresh chives were added to the hamburger mixture. I prefer using fresh herbs for all of my recipes because they offer a deeper level of flavor and a freshness that dried herbs lack.
1 Cup Pre-cooked rice or left over rice I used Basmati following the basic recipe.
2 room temperature beaten whole eggs
Oil for frying
1 organic Lemon peel from a lemon washed and cut into thin strips and oil to make a dressing (optional)
Washed and finely chopped chives are used for filling (optional)
Pre-cooked Hamburger ( see picture above for texture) with pan roasted sweet peppers, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme or your choice of ingredients.
Finely grated cheese of choice for filling ( not extra fine, I used Parmesan) and salad if desired.
Gluten free bread crumbs (Please note, I used gluten free brown rice flour I blended myself for the first few batches and they fried up nicer than the bread crumbs I used here. I am fairly sure GF Panko would work nicely for this recipe though, although it was not available at my store.
Washed and chopped red and green cabbage reserving the pretty outside layers for plating each serving.
Fresh chives were used to garnish the plate and were washed and chopped for the filling.
Kitchen-aide, blender, or food processor ( I used a Ninja), mixing bowls, rolling pen, spatula, skillet, parchment paper is helpful, chef knife, and plates.
Step 2: Blend Rice to Form Dough Mixture
Pour the pre-cooked and cooled rice into a kitchen-aid or blender and blend until a ball forms.
Remove the dough ball from the blender.
Step 3: Roll Dough Cut and Fill
I think dough sticks would work very well with this recipe. I wished I had thought of it before I ran out of dough or I would have made them. The smaller shapes worked better than the large balls I made the first time because they were less doughy.
Make a small flat shape using the dough and fill the inside with filling and roll it into a ball or roll the dough into a shape suited for squares or rolls; to desired thickness and fill the dough with the filling and top with a second layer of dough. Cut squares or strips for dough sticks. It is important to only add about 1-2- tablespoons filling (depending on size of dough), in order to seal the dough so the filling does not leak or the dough rip.
Step 4: Prepare Salad and Make Dressing
Heat the oil on the stove just as the tiny bubbles form on the bottom of the pan and add the lemon peel. Remove the oil from the heat and let the mixture sit for fifteen minutes, then removed the lemon peel and poured the dressing into a container with lid. One could make this using two lemons one for cooking the lemon peel and the remaining one could be cut into long thin strips and placed in a pretty clear bottle with the infused oil.
If you haven't washed the cabbage or separated the leafs for plating, now is the time to do that. After the whole leaves ( for individual servings) are removed you can chop the cabbage. I usually prepare only the amount needed for that meal.
Set aside salad and dressing until just before serving to preserve freshness. Cover and refrigerate if necessary until then.
Step 5: Breading the Dough Mixture
Dip the dough into the beaten egg and then the bread crumbs and place them on a plate.
Step 6: Pan Fry
Pan fry until golden brown and place on a plate.
Step 7: Add Seasonings and Dressing to Salad Before Plating
I tossed the cabbage with salt, pepper and oil just before plating.
Step 8: Bloopers
Some of the most common problems with cooking gluten free pasta according to the professionals is not letting the fresh dough rest before cooking it, cooking it too long, and not placing the pasta in a sauce immediately after removing it from the pan. When the pasta floats to the top of the water cook the pasta 1-2 minutes longer by testing the dough after the first minute and 30 seconds intervals to test for doneness. The problems I experienced might have been the grinding method I used was not fine enough to break down the whole rice grains which cause the texture to be grainy. Perhaps using a Vitamix blender would work better? I might try soaking the grains for a day and then blending, which just might be the answer.
The pictures show the problems I had with the dough structure, dough falling apart while rolling it out, sticking to the counter, and pan frying it. I was able to color a batch of the dough with success but only when I used a concentrated juice from cooking the beets and the coco powder. I used red and gold beet paste and juice, spinach paste, blueberry paste, tomato paste, and cocoa powder. I did not try food coloring in order to keep the ingredients as natural as possible. I will be experimenting again as I learn more and I will continue to try and develop a good recipe for gluten free pasta dough.
Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions that I might try or questions about this recipe. I will be making this recipe many times for my gluten free family and friends.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look and do have a safe and happy Spring~
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