A Review Of Felicia Bio Gluten-Free Pasta
Despite being a family of Pastivores, we have surprisingly limited ourself thus far to the glutennous kind. We’ve tried brands and flavors and toppings and things, but we’ve just never been tempted to try gluten-free pasta. It just felt like, if there isn’t a need (no gluten intolerance), it would somehow detract from the taste of traditional pasta. It wasn’t very high up on our give-it-a-shot list (okay maybe it wasn’t on the list at all).
However, a while ago we were contacted by a new brand of gluten-free pasta called ‘Felicia Bio’. They promised that the taste was on par with regular pasta. It definitely piqued our curiosity, especially with the sheer varieties of flour used for all the staple pasta shapes such as penne, spaghetti and even lasagne sheets.
We ran a little online check for the brand, and it all seemed good on paper:
- The brand is Italian, and is stocked at Eataly. Only Italians could be trusted with making pasta with non-traditional flours such as Rice and Quinoa.
- All of their raw materials are organic, non-GMO and are transported in dedicated containers to avoid contamination.
- The gluten content in their pasta is half of the amount needed to officially label a product as gluten-free.
Now all that was left was the taste test.
We were given different varieties of pasta, in different shapes. Before giving a verdict on taste, I think the cooking process is something that needs to be mentioned, as there was one definite advantage and a point of caution that we noticed while cooking with gluten-free pasta in general.
The point of caution is that while the stated cooking time is quite similar to regular durum wheat pasta, we found it definitely takes a little longer to cook to al dente perfection. So while cooking time is stated at around 6-8 minutes for some of the varieties, we found that most do take around 10-15 minutes. Of course, this could vary depending on your stove, but it definitely does take a bit longer to cook than regular pasta, so make sure you take that into account.
The major, major advantage that we found while cooking with this pasta is that unlike regular pasta where even a minute of overcooking results in a soft, limp mess, gluten-free pasta stays al dente for a few minutes longer, even after it has cooked. This helps avert the common kitchen disaster of overcooked pasta, and on more than one occasion saved us from embarrassment (especially since our food trials usually have a tasting audience of more than family, who can usually be appeased with a ton of cheese on top).
So here’s the verdict on the different varieties based on the type of flour used:
- Brown Rice Flour – This was unanimously voted as the most identical alternative to regular durum wheat pasta. The color, texture and taste was exactly the same, but this one had more of a bite (which everyone thought was because of my pasta cooking prowess, I didn’t correct them) and mopped up the sauce perfectly. Most people couldn’t tell this one apart from regular whole wheat pasta.
- Corn & Rice Flour – This one had a brighter yellow color from the corn-based flour, and took a few minutes longer to cook through than the Brown Rice one. Again, the texture was quite similar, but there was a slight difference in taste. Not enough to change the flavor, but just enough that you could tell it apart from traditional pasta. The bright yellow color was off-putting for some, but for some it was a welcome splash of natural color.
- Multigrain Flour (using a mix of Rice, Corn, Buckwheat and Quinoa) – My personal favorite, IF you have it immediately after cooking. Not only are the ingredients very fashionable (I mean how impressive would that Instagram caption be?) but the shells just had SUBSTANCE. The pasta itself tasted wholesome. The combination of flours seemed strange to me but they just went together incredibly well. Re-heating it though, is another story entirely. It tastes very grainy and not at all appetizing.
Disclaimer: We were given the samples for the sole purpose of providing feedback for the brand (not writing a post), but as with any good product, we felt compelled to share it with you, given that gluten intolerance is a very real issue that is often overlooked, as most people consider gluten-free foods to be a diet fad.