I've always been a big believer in the "everything in moderation" idea, as opposed to strict, limiting diets. My first foray into a "diet" was cutting out all carbs/gluten the month leading up to my wedding. I will say, the results felt pretty fantastic. I didn't feel weighed down or overly full like I tend to feel when I eat carbs (maybe because they're all SO GOOD and I often go overboard). And honestly, after learning to just ignore the stupid bread basket when I'd go out to eat, it wasn't all that difficult. But there was one thing that I really truly missed: PASTA. My first carb-free week, all I dreamt about were noodles. Ramen, spaghetti, mac and cheese (there is NO delicious healthy mac and cheese substitute)...they haunted my dreams on a nightly basis. When I broke my carb-free month (of hell), I filled a huge bowl with buttered noodles and black pepper and didn't look back.

That brings us to now. It is a new year and I have new resolutions, one of which is continuing to learn to cook different cuisines. While it does include various global cuisines, I am also trying to focus more on recipes for diet restrictions. It is becoming more common for friends and clients to request vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free menus, among others. So, I figured today was as good as any to make a delish pasta dish without any gluten. (Plus, I'd just eaten a piece of chocolate cake and thought I was balancing it out).

My heart said, "cacio e pepe," but my head said, "it wouldn't kill you to add some veggies." So this recipe happened. Try it out and see what you think. There are still the familiar friends (butter and cheese) so it's not totally health-conscious and granola. 

Quinoa Pasta with Anchovy Butter and Garlicky Tomatoes

(Serves 2)

Making anchovy butter

Making anchovy butter

  • One 8 oz. box quinoa linguine pasta (I used Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 4 pearl tomatoes, diced (these are typically sold on the vine)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbl unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 or 4 oil-packed anchovy filets, chopped 
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Pecorino, for sprinkling on top
  1. Fill pasta pot with water and season with salt. Boil pasta for about 7 minutes. (Quinoa pasta gets mushy very quickly so drain when al dente). Reserve a little pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, blend butter, anchovies, chopped parsley (if using--I used about a teaspoon), pinch of salt and pepper in a small food processor. (Alternatively, you can soften the butter at room temperature, then combine the ingredients in with a fork in a bowl until well-blended). Set aside.
  3. Heat small saucepan to medium-high and add olive oil. Add tomatoes and garlic, then sauté until tomatoes soften most of the liquid is cooked out, about 5 minutes.
  4. Combine hot pasta with a tablespoon or so of anchovy butter (more, if desired), tomato sauce, and about a tablespoon of pasta water. Sprinkle with pecorino and extra black pepper and ENJOY! 

Note: This makes extra anchovy butter so save it for other things, like roasted veggies.