Foods that include wheat, barley and rye are not allowed on a gluten-free diet. Traditional pasta is made with refined flour, whole wheat flour or semolina, a course grind of durum wheat. Many people who must follow gluten-free diets for health reasons purchase specially made gluten-free pastas. The ingredients of these pastas vary depending on the manufacturer. Which one you choose really depends on your personal preference. Certain flours produce different textures that can be pleasant or not, depending on your tastes.
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Corn is gluten free. Corn pasta is usually made with a mixture of corn flour and courser corn meal. This pasta is usually lighter in texture than traditional wheat pasta. The corn products are usually mixed with water to create the dough.
White or brown rice flour may be used to make rice pasta. In addition to the fine rice flour, rice bran is often added to rice pastas. The rice bran is a leftover from the milling process and contains antioxidants and some fiber. The only other ingredient in rice-flour pastas is water.
Multigrain gluten-free pasta contains a blend of flours, such as rice, amaranth and quinoa. Certain brands are enriched with vitamins and minerals to boost the B-vitamin content.
Quinoa flour may be combined with corn flour to make a gluten-free pasta. Quinoa is actually a seed that cooks like a grain, and may be ground into flour. Its origins are in South America, and it is a good source of fiber and protein.
Some Italian-made pastas include eggs. Some gluten-free pastas made in Italy try to stay true to this recipe addition by using a combination of corn starch, tapioca flour, potato flour, olive oil and eggs to create an authentic Italian pasta that works for ravioli or lasagna. Xanthan gum, a thickening food additive derived from corn sugar, is added to provide structure to the pasta.