Gluten Free Pasta

It's been a few months since I've shared a recipe, so I thought it was time for another family favorite. I first came across this recipe for Lemon Thyme Pasta way back in 1998. I think a friend passed it along...it's from Country Home magazine, which is no longer published. It was a recipe I made regularly when my husband and I were first married, and I often made it for friends as well. Because all the ingredients are gluten free, with the exception of the pasta, it was easy to adapt once our son's Celiac diagnosis necessitated a gluten free diet. Last night, I made it with RP's Pasta gluten free fettuccine (I mixed one package of the regular variety with one package of the spinach). RP's is a favorite of ours, and because it's fresh pasta (found in the refrigerated section -- at stores listed on their website), it cooks up in only about 3 minutes. However, you can use any gluten free pasta. Our other favorite is Jovial Foods gluten free capellini (or other shapes). Jovial is a line of brown rice-based pastas made in Italy. Their pastas are extremely low in levels of arsenic, which, as... Read more →


For over 12 years, Picazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen, with 5 locations in Arizona has been continuously raising the bar for high quality dining, especially for those that are gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan. Year after year, they have added new menu items that combine healthy ingredients, new flavor combinations, and interesting takes on traditional favorites. Most of all, they continue to deliver on quality and TASTE. My secret wish is that Picazzo's would expand nationwide. We need one of these restaurants in every neighborhood! In the meantime, it's worth a visit to Arizona just to dine at Picazzo's (for every meal of your stay -- after all, with all their tempting menu items, you'd never get bored!). Here are 10 Things to LOVE About Picazzo's: 1.) They're the New Times "Best of Phoenix" Readers's Choice Winner for Best Gluten Free Restaurant in 2015 and 2016. Take it from your fellow gluten free diners...this place is awesome! 2.) Their ENTIRE MENU, full of starters (like the Caprese salad with homemade GF focaccia and pesto above), soups, salads, entrees, pizza, and pastas is GLUTEN FREE, with the exception of 2 of their pizza crust options (Organic Original and Organic Whole Grain). But... Read more →


You probably remember my Blog post detailing my family's trip to Italy this past summer. It was so fantastic, from a gluten free dining perspective, that I wrote a book about it (Gluten-Free in ITALY : Your Worry-Free and Gluten-Free Travel Guide to Italy), available on Amazon. But I'm often asked...of all the places we dined in Rome, Florence, and Venice, which was our favorite spot? Who had the best (and safest) gluten free offerings? In Rome, at least, I'd have to say it was a small chain of restaurants known as Mama Eat and Mama Frites. It was pure serendipity that we ended up eating at these two restaurants while in Rome. I'd heard about both restaurants and had included them on our list of places to potentially try while in Rome. However, I wasn't sure if it would work out, based on where we planned to be sightseeing each day. As luck would have it, after touring the Vatican for several hours one morning, a nearby gluten-free friendly restaurant where we'd planned to have lunch closed for renovation. We were starving, but we decided to continue with our day's plans and head south to Trastevere, an ancient and... Read more →


Have you dreamed of being able to enjoy authentic Neapolitan style pizza? Homemade gluten-free pasta with almost any sauce you can imagine? Gluten-free Nutella crepes? Freshly made gelato in a variety of gluten-free flavors? No, I'm not trying to torture you...but rather give you hope. These things do exist, and if you've ever longed to go to Italy, you can now entertain that thought...without worrying about how you'll stay gluten-free. I'm thrilled to announce the publication of my second e-book, Gluten-Free in ITALY: Your Worry-Free & Gluten-Free Guide to Italy. Like my first e-book, Gluten-Free in LONDON, this guide to ITALY provides you with everything you need for a successful (and safely gluten-free) trip: restaurant recommendations, advice on accommodations, tips for getting around each city (and between cities), the scoop on the best tours and excursions, and suggestions for saving money. You can literally use the book as a day-by-day guide to the cities our family just visited in late June/early July: Rome, Florence, and Venice. Our 12-day journey was a dream come true. We had enough time in each city so that we didn't feel rushed (although you never really have enough time to see all the amazing sites... Read more →


Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen and its founder Rick Freedman have always been trailblazers in the dining world. Picazzo's was one of the first to offer a large choice of gluten free options on their menu -- even many years ago -- and with each passing year, their menu has become more gluten-free friendly. In fact, their entire menu is now gluten free, save for the option to order pizza with either their organic "original" crust or organic whole-grain crust (of course, they do have gluten-free pizza, too...more about that in a moment). Whereas most gluten-free-savvy restaurants have a separate area of the kitchen for preparing their gluten free orders, Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen is the opposite. Their main kitchen is all gluten free, and they have a separate prep area and separate oven for their "regular" pizzas, which are the only gluten-containing items on the menu! There's not even a need to have "GF" notations on the menu, since everything is GF, save those two types of pizza. Imagine going into a restaurant and being able to order literally anything on the menu. And we're not talking about a small restaurant with just a few items. Picazzo's has a huge... Read more →


With Celiac Awareness Month coming to a close, we have one final gift card giveaway. This time it's a $25 Gift Card to Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, with 22 locations spread out over 10 states. It's one restaurant our family looks forward to tracking down when traveling (unfortunately, there isn't a location near us yet -- we keep hoping!). With delectable Italian specialties including gluten free pasta and homemade gluten free pizza, you'll be tempted by many of the choices on their large Gluten Free Menu. They're always adding new gluten free items and seasonal specials, and we mentioned them in a recent Blog post where we showcased our favorite gluten-free friendly chains. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite (or submit a quick review right on our DINE GLUTEN FREE app), and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Biaggi's Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Biaggi's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. If you prefer... Read more →


As we all know, there's a growing number of people who are now following gluten free diets by choice. It's a double-edged sword. It has made restauranteurs more interested in offering gluten free options on their menus, but unfortunately, this is often driven by profit motives. Too many times, restaurants aren't properly trained (by organizations such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness or the Gluten Intolerance Group) in safe preparation protocol, and diners who must follow gluten free diets for medical reasons (Celiac or gluten sensitivity) can become ill. Italian restaurants can be among the trickiest types of restaurants to navigate, since there are so many wheat flour-based items on the menu...like pizza and pasta. If there is flour flying in the air from the pizza making, that poses another risk. As with dining out in general, everyone needs to personally assess Italian restaurant options and determine their own level of comfort before choosing a specific restaurant. But here are some general questions to ask, preferably before even walking in the door: Visit the restaurant's website. Is there a specific GLUTEN FREE MENU? While this doesn't mean you can let your guard down, it's usually a good sign the... Read more →


Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen, a popular chain of five Arizona restaurants, sets the bar high for food with a focus on taste and quality -- and an impressive range of healthy, gluten free offerings. In fact, Picazzo's has what is arguably one of the most extensive menus of gluten free options available at an Italian restaurant. I kid you not when I say it would be worth a trip to Arizona just to dine at a Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen! (Read on to learn how you can win a $25 Gift Card to use at one of their restaurants...). Years ago, Picazzo's switched all their pasta to a gluten free variety, and just recently, they made the switch to RP's Pasta, a fresh (not dried) variety of gluten free pasta that also happens to be free of GMOs (which is becoming more important to many consumers, including myself). In fact, this is one of the reasons the owner of Picazzo's, Rick Freedman, decided to make the switch to RP's Pasta. He liked the texture and taste profile -- as well as the fact that it did not contain GMOs. Picazzo's uses five of their pasta products, including their gluten free... Read more →


Are you fortunate enough to live in or travel to Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, or the Rochester area of New York? If so, you're in for a treat, because Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano has added a handful of new gluten free items to their already extensive Gluten Free Menu. I have to admit that Biaggi's is one of our family's favorite gluten-free friendly chains. But unfortunately, there are none located in the mid-Atlantic area, so we've only had the priviledge of dining at Biaggi's when traveling (once to the Maple Grove location outside Minneapolis, MN and the other time to the former Salt Lake City, UT location, which is now closed). Their range of pasta preparations that are available gluten free -- along with homemade gluten free pizza, a huge range of meat and seafood entrees, and plenty of appetizing starters and salads -- makes gluten free folks feel included in the best their restaurants have to offer. You will NEVER feel like you're missing out or that you're "settling" for a meal that is less than outstanding. Favorites from our visits include the many varieties of GF pizzas, Pasta Di Mare, Grilled Chicken Parmesan, and... Read more →


When people first get diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, one of the things they mourn most is having to give up "regular" wheat-based pasta. That's certainly what happened with our family over eight years ago when our not-quite-two-year-old was diagnosed with Celiac. We thought, "Will he -- or we -- ever eat lasagna or Penne Bolognese again?" Fortunately, as you, too, have probably discovered, there's quite a selection of gluten free pastas on the shelves of grocery stores, and with each passing year, the choices get even better. Now even "mainstream," non-specialty stores typically offer at least a few varieties. Tinkyada, Schar, and Bionaturae are some of the easiest ones to find, and there's even a quinoa-based one called Ancient Harvest. And just yesterday I noticed one of the coupons given to me upon checkout at my local Giant grocery store was for Barilla's new gluten free pasta! Really? That's pretty huge...a big mainstream company like that offering gluten free pasta. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given that Ronzoni also came out with a gluten free pasta a couple months ago. While our family enjoyed it -- and looks forward to trying Barilla's, too -- we've... Read more →