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Friday, July 26, 2013

Fettuccini and Zucchini Ribbons in Moscato Sauce with Drunken Mushrooms

Because I'd like to be in the running for "longest recipe title EVER."

It's no secret that I loath fad "health" trends, like raw diets, using coconut oil for/on/in everything, any diet that's low-carb/high-protein, and on and on.  And, up until recently, I also used to mock the "gluten-free" trend.  I'm not saying that people with a legitimate health concern, such as celiac disease or gluten intolerance, were silly for avoiding gluten.  No, I'm referring to the people who tend to pick one aspect of the food they shove in their face as the culprit of all their ails, rather than examining their diet as a whole.  It couldn't possibly be alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, dairy, animal flesh, or the incredible amount of overly-processed junk food Americans tend to consume.  [Sorry for the sarcasm; I've been watching too much Dr. McDougall lately.]

Anyhow, back to legitimate gluten concerns.  One of my best friends just started seeing a girl who doesn't do gluten.  When he first told me that, I rolled my eyes.  But then he pointed out that gluten sensitivities can cause just as much discomfort as lactose intolerance.  Yep, I'm LI, so that hit home for me.  (Without going into gory details, my experience with LI is that dairy- in even the smallest amount- makes me feel.... yucky in the tummy, if you know what I mean.)  OK, so I should stop being cynical.  And, hey, if I'm going to accept gluten free as a legit trend, why not also tap into the trendiness of it to my advantage???  That's right, folks, the following recipe is 100% gluten free, and I fully intend to send it into a current recipe contest, aptly themed "Healthy Cooking."  Mwahahahaha.

A couple of notes about the recipe:
-It turned out much sweeter than I had expected.  If you don't want a sauce so sweet, try using a dry white wine or lemon juice instead of the orange juice (but I would start with 1/4 cup lemon juice and add more as needed).
-Gluten-free foods are definitely more expensive than gluten-filled foods.  These noodles were $2 more than the store brand.  Ouch!  So, if you don't have a gluten issue, feel free to use gluten-loaded pasta to your heart's content.
-Same goes for the GF flour.  I happened to have garbanzo flour on hand, but if you're not avoiding gluten, use any kind of flour you'd like.
-I like the flavor of fresh thyme, but I forgot how time-consuming it is to get those pesky leaves off the stems.  If you don't feel like wasting your thyme (ba dum bum!), use dried.
-Most wine is naturally gluten free, but if you're really really sensitive, I'd go to an actual liquor store and ask if they could recommend  a GF wine.

**Update: My dad asked me why the mushrooms were drunk.  (No, they do not need an intervention.)  This is actually a good question.  In the step where you allow the wine to reduce by half, you're cooking off the alcohol, leaving just the sweet taste of the wine.  However, I was entirely too impatient to wait for the alcohol to cook off when making the mushrooms, so I just let the 'shrooms soak up the boozy goodness.  If you're serving this to children or pregnant women, or other populations who oughtn't be consuming alcohol, feel free to substitute white wine vinegar or vegetable broth for the wine.

14 oz gluten free fettuccine (I used brown rice pasta)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Moscato  (or other white wine of choice)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I got this from 2 oranges)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tbsp gluten free flour, such as garbanzo (chickpea) flour
2 medium zucchini, shaved into ribbons (I'll explain that in a sec)
2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

For the mushrooms:
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp wine (same stuff as above)
6 oz portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

*For zucchini ribbons:  Using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise to create ribbons.  Continue until you reach the seedy core.  Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook pasta according to directions on package.

In a large saute pan, heat oil on medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, or until starting to soften and brown.  Add wine and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until liquid has reduced by half.  Add orange juice and vegetable broth and stir to combine.  Whisk in the flour and allow to simmer about 2 minutes until starting to thicken.  Add zucchini and thyme and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until zucchini is soft but not mushy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.
When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Return pasta to pot.  Add sauce and stir to coat well.   Cover to keep warm.

For the mushrooms:  In a large saute pan (you can use the same one as you did for the sauce), heat oil and wine on medium heat.  Add mushroom slices in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until heated through.

Dish out pasta onto a plate and top with a couple of mushroom slices.

**Bonus:  I'll give a dollar to anyone who can come up with a better recipe name for this dish.  And... go!

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