This meal was inspired by a wine tasting we had at Trader Joe’s. They were sampling an Italian Amarone, and it took me back to our 2016 Italian vacation. I was extremely nervous prior to our trip, not only because of the long flight, but because I was uncertain on how I would accomodate my dietary preferences. Rice pasta with marinara sauce (or tomato sauce) was my go-to meal while visiting Italy.
Luckily, Italy is one of the most gluten-free friendly countries in the world. I did extensive research before we went and “senza glutine”—which means gluten-free in Italian—was a menu option in almost every restaurant we visited. I ate rice pasta with marinara sauce in Rome, Venice, and Florence, and was excited to recreate this simple meal at home. I’ve tried making my own tomato sauce to make this more authentic, and when I narrow down a favorite I’ll post that recipe.
- 1 lb. bag of rice pasta (I get the organic brown rice pasta at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 jar of marinara sauce (I get the Trader Joe’s organic marinara no-salt added sauce)
- 1 tablespoon of dried basil
- Parmesan cheese (optional, if you are okay with dairy)
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
To cook the pasta,
- Bring a large pot of water to boil (filled about 70% full). Add the bag of rice pasta and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes (until al dente)
- Pour pasta & water in colander over the sink to drain (Rice pasta can get sticky and clump together so I’ve found spraying the drained pasta with non-stick olive oil spray helps it from sticking)
To heat the marinara sauce,
- In a small sauce pan, combine 2-3 cups of marinara sauce with 1 tablespoon dried basil and cover (I cover to prevent splattering; as it gets hot it will “pop”)
- Cook on med-low heat for 5-7 minutes or until hot
- Top the rice pasta with the marinara sauce and sprinkle with basil, red pepper flakes (to add spice) or parmesan cheese (if you don’t mind dairy) for flavor