Intolerance to gluten is widely spread and no longer a taboo: many restaurants today offer gluten-free options with no problem. However, there are some Italian dishes which are naturally gluten-free, born to suit every palate with no need for further adaptation.
Gluten-free recipes have become increasingly more popular over the last few years: it is no longer so difficult for people with gluten intolerance to find a dish that they can enjoy. Gluten-free dishes have become more elaborated and richer, thought and created to fit every palate. However, there are some Italian dishes which are naturally gluten-free, since they contain specific types of flours or none at all: they are not adaptations, but they are born in the past as gluten-free specialities and not on purpose.
Naturally gluten-free dishes: let’s start from something salty
Let us start from first courses: many types of risotto are naturally gluten-free, since rice does not contain gluten and risotto is often mixed with vegetables such as pumpkin, mushrooms or radicchio, therefore creating a dish which is not only delicious but also completely safe. Another gluten-free dish is the so-called “pizzoccheri della Valtellina”, a traditional dish made with buckwheat pasta, kale, potatoes and cheese (even though the traditional recipe requires also some normal flour, you can also find them 100% buckwheat flour on the market). Buckwheat is, once again, naturally free of gluten, and combined with vegetables and some cheese guarantees for a tasty meal. Polenta is another good example of ancient and naturally gluten free recipe, made with corn flour or Buckwheat. Farinata di ceci, a typical focaccia from Liguria and Tuscany, made with chickpeas flour, water, salt and oil: so simple and gluten-free! How to forget about insalata russa, a must for aperitivo or appetizer during festivities, is made with home made mayonnaise and vegetables. As second course, brasato al Barolo is an extremely good recipe which avoids gluten, with a perfect side dish of potatoes. Parmigiana di melanzane a tasty and very popular dish, completely gluten free, as well as all the other vegetable flans.
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Moving onto something sweeter
In case you are feeling like having something sweet, there are many options for you. Torta Caprese for example – a traditional Neapolitan dessert – is made with cocoa and almonds. Then we have Castagnaccio, which is made with chestnuts flour, which gives it its iconic name. Another traditional cake is “Torta Sbrisolona”, a typical crumbly cake from Mantua, also made with almonds. Others to be mentioned are Bunet, a typical sweet from Turin, the almond cookies from Sicily, Ricciarelli from Siena and Castagnaccio toscano, made with chestnuts flour.
All these cakes are naturally gluten-free, since they are made without flour or by using a naturally gluten-free one.
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The popularity of gluten-free options today
Luckily, it is easier today for people with gluten allergy to find something that they can enjoy at a restaurant: shaping and adapting dishes to be gluten-intolerant-friendly has become almost a trend, and it is by now a must for every place, to offer some gluten-free options. But the above mentioned dishes are not innovations: they were born and always have been made without gluten. So whether you’re feeling like having something salty or sweet, you will be able to enjoy an amazingly tasting gluten-free dish without having to worry!