I have a confession: Pasta Week is killing me. For medical reasons, I am not eating wheat for 30 days, and unfortunately this is only the third week of the new diet, so mac and cheese, fall vegetable orzo, and — my favorite — pappardelle topped with a rich, meaty tomato sauce are all off-limits. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the same long-simmered sauces I would normally eat over noodles.
Here are six alternative ways to eat pasta sauce, some noodle-like and some not.
1 On a potato: Pour pasta sauce over a split-open baked potato, or a boiled and mashed potato, for a sort shepherd's pie. This also works with a sweet potato.
2 Over polenta: A bowl of creamy polenta with a spoonful of ragù could give a plate of pasta a run for its money. Or cool the cooked polenta and cut it into cakes that can be grilled or baked and eaten with pasta sauce.
3 With cooked whole grains: Whole grains like quinoa, kasha and rice are the perfect vehicle for flavorful sauces.
4 Over roasted vegetables: Although any type of cooked vegetable could work, the toasty flavor of roasted vegetables is especially satisfying.
5 Over squash: Cook a spaghetti squash and shred the flesh into miraculously noodle-like strands, or use a mandoline or sharp knife to shred zucchini into thin strips. Salt the zucchini strands and let them sit in a colander for about 30 minutes, then squeeze out any excess moisture before briefly sauteing them or using them raw. These "noodles" are especially good with pesto.
6 With a gluten-free pancake: Make a pile of crispy potato pancakes, savory cornmeal pancakes, or a chickpea flour socca, and top with sauce. If you like savory food in the morning, this could even be breakfast.
Do you have any suggestions for gluten-free accompaniments to pasta sauce?