Reinventing the pasta category | Food business news

CHICAGO: Slowing in recent years by keto and low carb diets, pasta is coming back. While durum wheat (semolina) spirals, elbows, and spaghetti provided comfort to many during the early months of the pandemic, it is the newer formulations that are fueling innovation in refrigerated and frozen prepared meals. These are pastas that can be consumed by people on a ketogenic, low-carb diet due to the innovations of processors that use alternative cereals, legumes, vegetables, and even animal protein to make a tasty, nutrient-rich pasta. adding the gluten-free feature. an attribute that continues to attract consumers who read tags.

“Black rice, pumpkin, red lentils and purple carrots are taking a new twist on traditional pasta in an Instagram-friendly way,” said Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, professor of culinary arts and science. Food, Department of Food Management and Hospitality, Drexel University, Philadelphia. , and one of the 2022 Trend Watchers of the Special Food Association, New York.

For The Real Good Food Co., Los Angeles, thinly sliced ​​chicken is key to their gluten-free lasagna-style noodles used in the company’s new low-carb, high-protein frozen lasagna bowl. Through its own process, the company combines chicken with Parmesan cheese, and the mixture is formed, pressed and cut to look like lasagna.

“We care about making food more nutritious by eliminating highly processed flours,” said AJ Stiffelman, director of marketing. “By removing carbohydrates and sugars, we are working to help address concerns related to a variety of health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and overall fitness.”

The company chose to avoid the use of low-carb noodles made with various ingredients. Instead, the brand is based on a whole food formulation that offers positive nutrition.

“It contains 32 grams of protein and only 11 grams of clean carbs,” said Bryan Freeman, president of Real Good Food Co. “Traditional lasagna dishes have more than 50 grams of carbs per serving, added sugars and very little nutritional value.”

Chicken noodles are also used in the brand’s new line of frozen cannelloni, with low-carb, gluten-free “pasta” stuffed with ricotta cheese. The varieties are marinara, spinach and alfredo.

In Real Good Food’s Lemon Chicken Bowl, palm hearts are the key ingredient in creating gluten-free pasta noodles.

“With frozen food space being one of the fastest growing retail categories, we wanted to offer consumers more options,” Mr. Stiffelman. “We explored options for more traditional noodles, and after much trial and error, we found that naturally gluten-free palm kernel noodles met our standards.”

The company obtains the noodles from abroad and then prepares them so that they are a little drier for the chicken bowl with lemon. The technique makes them look like traditional semolina pasta.

What makes palm hearts more attractive than zoodles as a substitute for frozen pasta? It is the fibrous nature of palm hearts that binds 90% of inherent water content, making it a structurally more durable noodle than pumpkin. Palm hearts are collected from the inner core and growing shoots of certain palm trees. They are 100% edible and firm, like linguini, which is the most common way to cut them and sell them as a substitute for traditional pasta.

Semolina replacement

Firmness is a key attribute of pasta. This is why coarsely ground semolina flour is so popular for making pasta. It comes from a variety of wheat called durum, with the word durum meaning hard, as in durable. Hardness refers to the strength to grind and correlates with protein content. Durum wheat contains about 13% protein, compared to universal flour, which has a protein content of between 8% and 11%.

Coarse grinding gives the semolina dough a rough texture, allowing the sauces to adhere. This is not possible with some of the original gluten-free noodles made with rice. Rice is also low in protein (about 6%) and has no fiber. Wheat pasta varies in fiber content, but all will contain it, which also contributes to durability.

Visually, semolina flour has a natural golden hue of durum wheat. Pasta made with all-purpose flour, bread flour or rice flour looks white.

It is a challenge to create wheat-free, gluten-free noodles that look like traditional pasta. The good news is that consumers have become more lenient, especially when pasta is used in a prepared dish. Formulators have also become more creative with the blend of ingredients to produce pasta that attracts the senses while providing nutrition.

Cadence Kitchen, Corona, California, known for its frozen prepared entrees, recently entered the gluten-free space with chicken and pasta in cheese barbecue sauce. The dish is cooked in less than 10 minutes in the kitchen and requires no additional ingredients.

“Knowing that consumer interest in gluten-free items has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, and listening to our own customers’ desire for more gluten-free options, we are committed to innovating a pasta recipe that offers this at the same time. which offers unmatched quality when cooked. frozen, “said Alex Klein, president.

The shells are made with red lentil flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, whole egg, egg white and xanthan gum. Eggs provide protein and help firm the dough, while starches and chewing gum bind moisture and prevent breakage, among other functions.

Cappello’s, Denver, added three varieties of gluten-free ravioli to its frozen pasta line. The star ingredient, almond flour, is combined with egg, tapioca flour and other ingredients. The varieties are five cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, fontina and asiago) and spinach with ricotta cheese. There is also a dairy-free butternut squash option.

Gluten-free pasta from Tribe 9 Foods and CaulipowerTribe 9 Foods, Madison, Wisconsin, Taste Republic brand gluten-free refrigerated pasta makers, is launching vegetable-based sausage ravioli with Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles from Beyond Meat, El Segundo, California. The caveat here is the product is not vegan, although it does promote plant-based protein.

“Fresh ravioli with an extraordinary flavor should be available to everyone,” said Brian Durst, CEO of Tribe 9 Foods. “Beyond Meat has achieved for meat what we have done for pasta: creating an option comparable to its traditional counterparts.”

Ravioli are made with brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, whole egg, egg white, flax seeds and xanthan gum, a formulation similar to red lentil shells. Brown rice flour provides a little more protein and fiber than white rice. It also adds some color. Flax seeds are another source of protein, fiber and color and, when absorbed by water, produce a gelatinous texture that mimics wheat dough. Because it’s fresh pasta, the ravioli cook al dente in just two or three minutes.

Fresh pasta, which is sold refrigerated or frozen, is cooked to the side, and this is an important attribute of many of the new generation gluten-free options on the market. The products are fragile, unlike their durum wheat counterparts. With products like Taste Republic ravioli, over-boiling can cause the product to decompose. Drying it and selling it in the environmental aisle will also damage the integrity of the product during boiling.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles-based Caulipower introduced two varieties: linguine and pappardelle, a frozen cauliflower paste. Gluten-free pasta has cauliflower as the first ingredient; however, it also contains a number of other ingredients, such as cornmeal, potato starch, rice flour, lentil flour, psyllium, citrus fiber, sunflower seed oil, guar gum, and gum. xanthan to create a desirable texture. The pasta is vegan and contains no eggs, which are beneficial for the integrity of the product and the protein content. One serving contains 5 grams of fiber but 2 grams of incomplete protein (it does not contain all the essential amino acids in the proportion required by the body).

“It looks, cooks and tastes just like fresh pasta, with fewer calories than any other on the market, fresh, frozen or dried,” said Gail Becker, founder and chief operating officer. “Our mission is to make the most delicious and favorite foods in the United States healthier by using the power of plants.”

Sec limits ingredient choices

When it comes to gluten-free dry pasta, there are fewer ingredients and processes available for formulators and this tends to hinder quality. Many are simple changes of semolina for legumes or other gluten-free flour, mixed with water, then formed and dried. For many consumers, this works, especially when used in recipes with tasty sauces.

Barilla, Northbrook, Illinois, for example, offers chickpea spaghetti. Like the rest of the Barilla legume pasta line, Barilla chickpea spaghetti is made entirely with chickpea flour.

“We’re always listening to buyers,” said Jean-Pierre Comte, president of Barilla Americas. “Spaghetti is a much-loved and sought-after cut, so adding it to our vegetable offerings was a natural step forward. Adding a long-cut chickpea paste allows pasta lovers to be more creative with their meals and recipes with a delicious flavor and al dente texture “.

Barilla chickpea spaghetti offers 11 grams of protein and 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving. It joins the chickpea rattan, red lentil spaghetti, red lentil penne and red lentil rattan.

Lupine flour is the key ingredient in JaziLupini from the Rochester, New York startup of the same name. Founder Jazz Sanchez experimented with several alternative flours before landing on the lupine, which is rich in protein and fiber and a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Mix the lupine bean flour with pea protein isolate, tapioca flour and xanthan gum. One serving contains 26 grams of protein, 18 grams of fiber and 3 net carbs.

Legumes are a curiosity in the world of legumes, as they are the only starchless bean, meaning they have less sugar than other legumes, which contributes to their keto-friendly positioning.

“JaziLupini will be the first ceto pasta option on the market that is versatile enough to work on preparing, reheating, baking and freezing meals, just like real pasta,” Ms. Sanchez.

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