Italian Food: Beyond a Noodle

When I was about 6 years old, I remember going to my great grandparent’s – Nonna and Boone’s – house in New Bedford for a big Italian feast on Sunday afternoons.

I remember the aroma of fresh garlic, basil, olive oil and simmering sauce as soon as the front door was opened. I remember too many people packed around a too small table, sitting on mismatched chairs, drinking Chianti from mismatched glasses. I remember the eating, the talking, the laughing.

When I first got diagnosed with celiac disease, reminiscences such as these surfaced hard. I realized that food was an influential and powerful memory-maker. The taste, the smell, the laughter, the smiles.  At that time, I decided to put my memories-in-motion and come up with some Italian inspired dishes that would make Nonna and Boone proud.

Cooking allergy free and gluten free traditional Italian dishes is much easier than imagined. Good rustic, traditional Italian food goes beyond a glutenized noodle.

Some of the most flavorful Italian staple pantry items are gluten and allergy free. Some of these must-haves include:

– Arborio Rice: An Italian short-grain, high starch rice that is used to make risotto, a versatile creamy rice dish that can be flavored with any type of meats, fish, vegetables, and spices. Perfect for those that need to eat gluten free or allergen free. My Dad makes the best risotto – and got the recipe from Nonna and Boone.

– Polenta: A staple of Northern Italy, it is made of cornmeal. Free of gluten and most common allergens, it has a soft, moist and – dare I say – “breadlike” texture. It can be served so many ways – soft or hard – and flavored in the same manner as risotto. I make my own to guarantee it is gluten and allergen free.

– Roasted Red Peppers: You can roast them yourself, or purchase them jarred for quick and easy cooking. I put them on antipastos, grilled chicken and egg dishes.

– Olives: I love olives. I love them on everything – but especially in all my Italian cooking recipes. I go crazy at supermarket olive bars. Olives: The perfect gluten free finger food.

– Olive Oil: I use olive oil daily. I spritz it on my salad; I use it instead of butter on steamed veggies and I coat my pans with it before cooking anything. My favorite olive oils are Marconi brand flavored oils made by Catania-Spagnia. They come in many flavors: Rosemary, Oregano, Garlic, Basil and Jalapeno. Explore them all!  

Put your memories-in-motion. Explore those happy memories. Dig up those traditional family recipes, tweek them to make them gluten & allergy free and share them. Share them with your children, husband, wife, friends, neices, nephews, and all of us here at BeFreeForMe.  


Eat. Talk. Laugh… Gluten & allergy free!

7 Responses to “Italian Food: Beyond a Noodle”

  1. Dee Comber Says:

    I am Italian and I miss my Italian Bread sooo Much…..Is There a recipe for Gluten Free Italian Bread?
    I too remember the Italian feast every Sunday with Meatballs and my Mom made homemade ravioli”s.
    I was diagnosed with Celiac and Crohns’s Disease 5 years ago and I Hate It….I’m so tired of eating the same ole food.If You have any input on these foods Please let me know……..
    Thank You
    Dee Comber

  2. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Can anyone out there help Dee?! Does anyone have a fantastic Italian Bread recipe that they can share?

    Dee, I will also check with a few of my Baker friends that may have a traditional Gluten free Italian Bread recipe for us all. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and get a Gluten Free Ravioli recipe too!

    Be Free!

  3. Kristine Says:


    great recipe for italian rolls and other stuff:

    Italian food gf style:

    and the best pasta I have found is orgran rice and corn ..hand’s down exactly like the hard durum wheat pasta I remember..we buy it by the case through amazon

  4. HollyTriedIt Says:

    I cried when I found out that my daughter had a peanut allergy for this very reason. She will never experience the pure delight of Moose Tracks Ice Cream. Outings and meals with friends will never be easy. She’ll always have to think about what she’s eating. I know, because I have tons of food allergies.

  5. Faith Pavkovich Says:

    This is my favorite Gluten Free French Bread and could pass as an Italian Loaf if not formed long and thin. My husband, the son of a wonderful Italian mother, loves this bread and he does not have to eat gluten free. I hope you get a chance to try it soon.

    First the recipe for
    Brown Rice Flour Mix:
    2 c. Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour (do not cheat on this ingredient)
    2/3 c. Potato Starch
    1/3 c. Tapioca Flour

    French Bread Recipe

    Dry ingredients:
    2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
    2 T. Millet Flour
    2 1/2 teas. Xanthan Gum
    1 1/2 teas. Sugar
    1 teas. Salt
    2 teas. Yeast

    Wet Ingredients:
    1 teas. Cider Vinegar
    2 Egg Whites ( room temperature)
    1 1/2 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

    Prepare your pan by spraying with Olive Oil.

    Combine in bowl of a heavy duty mixer the Dry Ingredients.

    Add to the bowl the Wet Ingredients.

    With the paddle attachment wisk all ingredients together briefly, just to moisten all and scrape down sides of bowl in one step.

    Beat at high speed for 3 minutes.

    Spoon dough into French Loaf Pan or (6) Hamburger Buns or (5) 6″ flat rounds on oiled parchment.
    A few diagonal score marks on the French Baguette is a nice touch.
    A large lever type scooper (think ice cream scoop size) heaping works great for the buns and Flat Breads

    Spray with a mist of Olive Oil (this step is very important to get the right crust to form). Cover with a flour sack dish towel. Let rise for 20-30 minutes in a warm place.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    For French Loaf bake for 1 hour
    For Crusty Rolls bake for 20 minutes
    For Flat Breads bake for 20 minutes

    Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and let a little heat out of your oven.

    For French Loaf bake for an additional 15 minutes
    For Crusty Rolls bake for an additional 20 minutes
    For Flat Breads bake for an additional 20 minutes

    These breads make all of my favorites:
    French Toast – thick sliced
    Grilled Cheese – way better than white bread ever did
    Pocket Bread Sandwiches – limited only by your imagination
    Pannini Hot Sandwiches – again, limitless combinations of fillings

    I keep a large canister of the dry ingredients (minus the yeast) mixed up. 334 grams measured directly into the mixing bowl with the yeast added at the ready, adding the wet ingredients uses only 1 teas. measure spoon and 2 cup liquid measure cup.

    I have risen the French baguette slowly in the refrigerator for an even more authentic flavor. This is something I used to do with non gluten free breads. A method that I saw on a baking show years ago.

    This loaf of bread is actually better on the second day.
    Bun Pan – Hamburger
    Item # 5185

  6. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Thanks, Faith!

    I am sure that all of the BeFreeForMe members will enjoy this French / Italian Bread recipe!


    Be Free!

  7. Sue from Jaffrey Says:

    Hope to help you with recipes and more. Keep laughing and hope you’re still sewing your gorgeous inventions.


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