Gluten Free Pasta Carbonara

My family isn’t gluten free, but most of our friends are. For the love of our friends and love of hospitality, I’ve been collecting meal ideas to serve a large crowd that please both gluten and non-gluten eaters. Being Chinese, making gluten free meals is fairly simple when cooking Asian, but Italian can be trickier. 

This version of pasta carbonara does the best job of pleasing one and all. Of course, regular pasta works just as well…but I just had to record what I did for the gluten free version because there was no compromise on taste!

  • 2 16 oz. packages of brown rice penne pasta from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan
  • 3 cups thawed/warmed frozen peas

Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. 

Cook bacon in a heavy bottom pan or cast iron skillet until bacon is crisp. Drain and set aside with about 1 tbs. bacon grease left in pan. Add diced onion and minced garlic to the bacon grease, and sauté until onions translucent and carmelized. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in a large bowl. Add whipping cream, and beat together. 

When pasta is done, drain and place in large serving/mixing bowl. Drizzle the egg/cream mixture to hot pasta immediately, and mix well until fully incorporated. Add sautéed onion mixture and cooked bacon to pasta mixture. Incorporate peas and shredded parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. 

Add ins: Red pepper flakes, marinated grilled chicken, grilled eggplant or portbello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, marinated artichokes…!

Nice enough for company, easy enough for a weekday supper with family. Enjoy!


That One-Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works

I have a recipe for you to make tonight. Or this weekend. Or whenever you need a delicious meal in under 30 minutes and just one pot to clean up. I first saw this recipe in a recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. It caught my attention with it’s vibrant colors and delicious ingredients. But, ultimately, it was the no boil-ahead noodles part of this recipe that intrigued me. One pot meals are pure genius.

That One Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works |

I tweaked Martha’s one-pan pasta recipe and added artichokes, lemon slices, and increased the portion to suit my family. I also used canned tomatoes with juice rather than fresh tomatoes. Once all my tomatoes and basil come in in the potager, I will definitely make this with fresh picked ingredients!

That One Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works


  • 24 oz. pasta
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
  • 2 slices lemon with rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • good helping of salt and pepper


  1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Boil mixture on high, stirring and turning pasta regularly with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes. (Once cooled, the pasta will soak up more liquid, so consider don’t worry if there’s still liquid in the pot after noodles are cooked.)
  2. The starch in the noodles combined with the rest of the ingredients, make a delicious creamy sauce. Remove lemon slices if you’d like.
  3. Serve up with some parmesan, and enjoy!

one pot2

One Pot Artichoke Pasta |

one pot3

There are so many variations you could create with this recipe. Just make sure your total amount of liquid is comparable to boil the noodles, but play around with the rest of the ingredients. We really enjoyed the artichokes and the brightness of the lemon…what will you add?

Have a great weekend!!

Grilled Eggplant, Bacon, Tomato and Basil Penne

Our potager has yielded a nice crop of japanese eggplant and tomatoes, so in spite of the nausea, I got creative with dinner last night. For once in my life, I truly created a successful recipe that is not in existence. Sure, I regularly cook with creative license and liberality, but that’s usually just a bit of tweaking. No, this time…this time, I don’t even know what to call this wonder of a one-bowl pasta dish. How about grilled-eggplant-with-a-rich-and-fragrant-bacony-tomato-basil-penne. That should do it.

Grilled eggplant, bacon, tomato and basil penne

Grilled eggplant, bacon, tomato and basil penne

Grilled Eggplant, Bacon, Tomato and Basil Penne

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins | Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6


  • 1 large eggplant, or 4 medium japanese eggplants
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (12 oz) can peeled tomatoes in juice (diced with chili seasoning)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • shredded parmesan for serving
  • 17.5 oz penne pasta


  1. Cook penne per instructions. Al dente, drained, rinsed, and set aside.
  2. Fire up the grill.
  3. Cut off end of eggplant, and slice at diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on grill. Grill approximately 4 minutes a side.
  4. Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
  5. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, cook bacon until almost crisp (fat rendered). Add diced onion and minced garlic to the bacon and fat. Saute until onions are translucent and browned, scraping bits from the bottom of pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and continue scraping.
  6. Add fresh tomatoes, and cook down for a 2 minutes, stirring continually.
  7. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup red wine, and add canned tomato with juice.
  8. Add sugar, spices and herbs, and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Casually chop grilled eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces, and add to the simmering sauce. Combine thoroughly and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  10. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Remove from heat, and add drained penne to the sauce. Combine well, and add salt if needed. Add red pepper flakes or serve on the side as garnish.
  12. Serve each bowl with a generous sprinkling of shredded parmesan.
  13. Enjoy!

Grilled eggplant, bacon, tomato and basil penne

Grilled eggplant, bacon, tomato and basil penne


This is truly one of my new favorite things.  How brilliant–grilled crusty bread in salad–just perfect for all those who like a little lettuce with their croutons. Hmmm…or is this how croutons came to be?…but crouton is a French word, non?…I digress. So, you can’t mess up Panzanella, unless you burn the bread, I suppose. I added mozzarella to mine, and Ina likes capers in hers, but no matter how you toss it up, these are the main ingredients:

  • Crusty bread brushed with olive oil, sliced 1/2 inch thick, grilled, then cut into cubes
  • Coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes
  • Coarsely chopped cucumbers
  • Coarsely torn basil
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and pepper

*Update: I now toss my veggies with olive oil and vinegar first, adjust salt and pepper for taste, and then add bread at the end and toss. I like my salad to be moist and vinegar-y, so I usually use two parts red wine vinegar to one part olive oil. The cucumbers and tomatoes should be sitting in some dressing when you toss in the bread–the bread will soak up the excess dressing!


Simply delicious, and efficient too, taking care of bread and salad in one big bowl! Perfect for the grilling season that’s around the corner.