gluten-free fusion dish

A gluten-free Asian-Italian meal

Our congregation is organized into small caring units. One of my couples is homebound, for a time. She has a new artificial hip. He is her primary caretaker. So some of us provide food.

She cannot tolerate gluten. They offered a hint — rice pasta is a good base for a meal.

What follows is — in true Fearless Taster form — not a recipe. It is a guide. To be even less pretentious, it’s simply my recollection of how I prepared six generous servings (two for the day I delivered it; two in the fridge for a few days; and two in the freezer).

Pasta: One pound of gluten-free, additive-free rice penne or rigatoni ($1.09 at Trader Joe’s) is boiled (not vigorously, but stirred if necessary) in water to just al dente.

I added to the water the water in which I had rehydrated one-third of a cup of dried tomato halves (later snipped in half again).

Trader Joe’s offers an inexpensive medley of dried spices called Twenty-one Seasonings Salute. I used a quarter-cup of it, stirred into one cup of light sour cream and half a cup of non-fat milk, stirring it into the drained and rinsed pasta. I added a quarter cup of freshly-shredded peccorino romano (imported from Italy and made from sheep milk).

I briefly sauteed one pound of Trader Joe’s bay scallops in virgin olive oil, adding a quarter cup of chardonnay to bring the scallops to just opaque. Off the heat, I added to the pan two tablespoons of reduced-sodium soy sauce and a tablespoon and a half of toasted sesame oil (I prefer the assertiveness of the Dynasty brand).

Then in a large non-stick pan I sauteed, in a small amount of virgin olive oil, an entire green bell pepper (halved horizontally and then cut into thin slices) and half a large onion, chopped. That pan was added last into the pasta and the whole assemblage stirred thoroughly to blend.

Ordinarily this would go into a casserole dish and covered with buttered bread crumbs and baked until the top browns. But gluten is verboten, so the dish is consumed, gently warmed in a stovetop pan or in the microwave, accompanied by a simple salad.

Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster.