Gluten free pasta: it can be good, it can be bad… and it can be ugly. In the early days of gluten free, you were pretty much guaranteed a pot of starchy mush. I remember those days (not) fondly – boiling a pound of pasta, and ending up with a cup of noodles and a pot of school paste. . Standing over a pot and timing the pasta JUST SO – at 7 minutes it was crunchy, and at 8.5 minutes it was goo, so timing literally was everything!
Those days are long gone. We have access to all sorts of brands of gluten free pasta, and most of it’s pretty good, and pretty affordable.
At least when it’s fresh.
One huge problem I’ve run into over the years is how to do ‘cold’ pasta – you know, pasta salad, macaroni salad, etc. Most of the time, gluten free pasta just gets *weird* when you cool it. Even the ‘good stuff’ is just ‘good enough’. But I never never quit. One day, I figured, I would find a pasta that actually acted like pasta, without lupines (which I am allergic to), and without breaking the bank.
When my supermarket started carrying the Barilla brand of gluten free pasta, for a great price, I gamely threw a few boxes into my cart and hurried home to test it – after all summer is coming – and I FINALLY found a pasta I can sing about.
Here’s my review of the product:
I’m reviewing the elbow macaroni, but Barilla actually makes most of the popular shapes of pasta gluten free – spaghetti, elbows, penne, and rigatoni – offering a variety for many of your cooking needs
There is 12 OZ (340g) in each box. After boiling, the pasta roughly doubles in size and weight, to around 24ounces (680g).
The pasta retailed in my small, rural supermarket for about $2.38 per box, but you can also find it online at Amazon for about $1.98 per box, when you have a Prime membership.
A serving, according to the box, was 2oz dry, or about 4 oz cooked. In my experience, that’s just not the way most people eat pasta as an entree. If you’re making the pasta salad, as part of a large buffet at a party, then 6 servings per box might be fair. As an entree, you should expect to get about 3 adult servings per box.
Total for a single serving as per the original
- Calories about 200
- Fat 1g
- Carbohydrates 44g, Fiber 1g
- Protein 4g
For an ‘entree’ portion
- Calories about 400
- Fat 2g
- Carbohydrates 88g, Fiber 2g
- Protein 8g
Texture and Flavor:
This pasta is pasta – slightly more golden than usual due to the corn content – but otherwise unremarkable… which is exactly what you want. It cooks well no matter your preference for al dente or well cooked texture, and it stores well (stays pasta like) when cold, provided you store it air-tight.
When made into pasta salad, it absorbed the dressing properly (most pastas get too dry or, if done cold, stay too soppy), and the texture was as it should be. I was especially happy that the pasta increased in size, properly, when boiled, without any starchiness in the water or gumminess in the finished product. I was also happy that it cooked in normal time, without having to micromanage the level of doneness.
Top Eight: None were listed.
Yes at Amazon
For comparison I used Barilla’s regular line of elbow pasta (on Amazon at $1.34 per 1lb box).
Priced per ounce the Barilla Gluten Free line ($.20 per oz) is about 2 1/2 times more expensive per serving than the regular elbow pasta ($.08 per oz) – this is pretty par for the course in gluten free products, of course. The nutrition was roughly comparable between the two, and the texture was extremely close.
TASTE OR TOSS
This is a decent value for the money and very consistent. TASTE!