Need a delicious gluten-free meal in a hurry? Take 3 pantry ingredients: brown rice pasta, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and tuna packed in olive oil, add a few favorite seasonings to make it your own, and you’ve got dinner in not much more time than it takes to boil a pot of water.
Brown rice pasta is delicious in its own right. I often ate it even before giving up gluten. But you have to cook it right.
Cooked correctly, brown rice pasta has a wonderful bite, slightly softer than semolina pasta, but not gummy or sticky. Just about every package you’ll ever find says BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK. Don’t ever disregard that warning.
Tips for cooking brown rice pasta
If you’re not accustomed to cooking brown rice pasta, choose a short macaroni style like penne. Less likely to stick to each other than a long pasta such as spaghetti. Brown rice pasta is very mild tasting. Generously salt the water to bring out its flavor. Turn off the burner about 2 minutes before the suggested cooking time is over and place a lid on the pot. When the time is up, check the doneness and always rinse well in cold water after draining.
A 28-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes sauces a 16-ounce package of pasta perfectly. I add one 5-ounce can of tuna packed in olive oil, but you might prefer two. Or if you’re vegetarian, maybe you’d rather add mushrooms instead.
- crushed garlic
- fresh oregano and thyme
- sea salt (not too much salt at this point, the canned tuna contains added salt)
- freshly ground pepper
- a generous pinch of ground chili
- smoked paprika to bring out the smokiness of the fire roasted tomatoes
Heat a large pan over medium and drain the olive oil from the tuna into the heated pan. Add your choice of seasonings and cook several minutes. If anything sticks, add a spoonful of tomato juice from the can. Next add the tuna and cook a couple minutes more, stirring to combine well. Finally add the can of tomatoes, juice and all. Bring to a simmer and taste. Add a pinch of sugar if desired (I like coconut palm sugar) and adjust the other seasonings as well.
By now your brown rice pasta should be done. Drain and rinse well in cold water. Make sure the water is drained well after rinsing, then add the cooked pasta to the sauce in your pan. Combine gently and heat thoroughly, until the pasta is hot again and any liquid in the pan is reduced. Splash a bit of good quality olive oil in if desired, and serve.
This is not a “recipe”. Don’t worry too much about measurements or duplicating my ingredients exactly. Relax and have fun with it. If you’re unsure how much to use, add a little, taste and add more if needed. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
Use your imagination and the ingredients in your pantry to make it different each time. Olives go great with tuna. Sheep’s milk feta is wonderful with fire roasted tomatoes. Fresh basil. Dried herbs. Minced onions and celery. Chopped green veggies. What would you add?