“Spaghetti” alla Vodka (Low-Carb, Gluten & Dairy Free)

“Spaghetti” alla Vodka (Low-Carb, Gluten & Dairy Free)

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish traditionally made with penne pasta, vodka, heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and bacon or pancetta.

This dish became very popular in Italy and in the US around the 1980s, but the origin of the Penne alla Vodka recipe has been disputed between Italy and the United States: both claim the creation of this recipe.

According to The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented in the 70s at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.

The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.

To support the creation of this dish in the United States, we have two tales: Luigi Franzese, the Italian American chef of Orsini Restaurant in New York and James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University.

As you can see, it’s not clear whether or not Penne alla Vodka is an authentic Italian recipe. BUT based on the ingredients, the technique, and the mark it left on Italian cuisine, the answer should be yes!

Since this dish is liked by many (including me), I decided to put a gluten & dairy free spin on it so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy these amazing flavours of Italy (or the US ?‍♀️).

This recipe is also great for those following a low-carb, keto or paleo diet.

If you love this recipe then you’ve got to try:

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“Spaghetti” alla Vodka

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 large spaghetti squash
200 g pastured bacon or pancetta
1/2 cup vodka
1 shallot or small onion
12 oz tomato passata
7 oz full fat coconut milk , canned
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the spaghetti squash:

1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.

2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’.

3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.

Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.

For the vodka sauce:

1. Finely slice the shallot or onion and place in large frying pan with olive oil. Saute for 2-minutes over medium heat.

2. Slice bacon into small chunks and add it to the pan. Cook over low heat until the bacon becomes slightly crispy.

3. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in vodka. Let the alcohol evaporate. This may take a few minutes.

4. When alcohol is completely evaporated, add tomato passata. Season with salt, stir and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat without a lid, stirring occasionally.

5. When the sauce is cooked, add the coconut milk and cook until you get a fairly thick and creamy vodka sauce. Turn off the heat and let it rest.

6. You can add spaghetti squash strands into the pan with vodka sauce and coat OR place spaghetti squash strands into a bowl and top with vodka sauce.

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Shrimp Pad-Thai (Gluten & Grain Free, Paleo, Low-Carb)

Shrimp Pad-Thai (Gluten & Grain Free, Paleo, Low-Carb)

When I switched over to an IBS friendly diet many year ago, pad-Thai was one of the dishes I knew I was going to miss most.

I fell in love with pad-Thai during my university days and always found myself gravitating towards Thai restaurants when I ate out. Something about the combo of spices and flavours is just magical in Thai cuisine.

So, since depriving myself of the foods I love most is never an option, it was important that I had a grain free version of pad-Thai that I could easily create in my kitchen whenever a craving hit.

Check out this delicious Shrimp Pad-Thai with simple and clean ingredients. It’s one of my favourite recipes to date 🙂

Shrimp Pad-Thai

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb wild shrimp
2 pastured eggs
1 spaghetti squash
1 pack enoki mushrooms
2 large carrots
2 green onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch cube ginger, grated
2 tbsp. avocado oil
4 sprigs cilantro (optional)
2 tbsp. pine nuts or crushed almonds, lightly toasted
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Pad-Thai sauce:
1 lime (juice only)
2 tbsp. almond butter
3 tbsp. coconut aminos

NOTE: If you’re not a fan of shrimp, feel free to swap it out for chicken. Just cut 1lb of chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min. Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash. Set aside. (I suggest preparing the other ingredients as the squash cooks).

2. Finely chop carrots and green onion in a food processor or by hand. Set aside.

3. Using a deep pan over medium heat sauté garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp. avocado oil until fragrant. Add carrots, onion and mushrooms and continue to cook until carrots are tender. Season with salt.

4. Create a space in the middle of the pan, add eggs and scramble. Mix in with vegetables and let cook for 1-2 minutes.

5. In a small bowl combine all sauce ingredients until smooth and creamy.

6. Add spaghetti squash and sauce into pan and mix all ingredients together until sauce coats everything.

7. Add in cooked shrimp (see instructions below) and gentle combine all ingredients until warm.

8. Plate the pad-Thai and top with toasted pine nuts and chopped cilantro.

Shrimp: (can be cooked at the same time as the pad-Thai)

1. In a separate pan, cook shrimp in 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn shrimp halfway through cooking.

2. Once shrimp are cooked, set aside until ready to add to the other pan.

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“Spaghetti” alla Puttanesca (Gluten Free, Low-Carb, Paleo)

“Spaghetti” alla Puttanesca (Gluten Free, Low-Carb, Paleo)

So, I was going to talk about the health benefits of this flavourful Italian dish, BUT got sidetracked by some other interesting facts when I was doing recipe research …

DID YOU KNOW? Spaghetti alla puttanesca literally means prostitute’s spaghetti!

And that’s why we’re not talking about health today – and instead learning about how this dish got its name.

Some believe this was the easiest dish prostitutes could prepare between customers because the low cost, easily stored ingredients required little shopping or preparation.

Others believe it was was created by Sandro Petti, the co-owner of the restaurant Rangio Felon. The story goes that some customers arrived late to eat and because the restaurant had run out of many fresh ingredients, they asked Petti to prepare ‘una puttanata qualsiasi’, which literally translates as ‘a whore’s any’ but means any rubbish/ garbage. So Petti created a dish with what he had left in the kitchen. The resulting pasta dish was liked so much by the customers that Petti put it on the restaurant menu calling it ‘spaghetti all puttanesca’.

Moral of the story (whichever story you choose to believe): Spaghetti alla puttanesca is not only quick and easy to whip up, but it’s also a great go-to meal during the busy work week since most ingredients (like olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies) can be easily stored in your kitchen.

Now check out my gluten free & paleo spin on a classic spaghetti alla puttanesca.
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“Spaghetti” alla Puttanesca

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
1 large spaghetti squash
6 anchovy fillets, canned in olive oil
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes , drained
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tbsp. capers
3 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley for garnish
Sea salt to taste

Not a fan of anchovies? Try tuna or chicken instead.
Make it plant-based by replacing anchovies with beans.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Spaghetti Squash

1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.

2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10 min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’. 

3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.

Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.

Puttanesca Sauce

1. In a large pan, sauté garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes in 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Break apart anchovies.

2. Once garlic is lightly golden, add tomatoes and crush with a fork.  Add some salt and cook at medium heat until tomatoes break down, roughly 10-minutes.

3. Add in olives and capers and let simmer on low heat for another 10-minutes.

4. Add cooked spaghetti squash into the puttanesca pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil and coat noodles with sauce.

5. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve!
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