How To Be Gluten-Free in Brooklyn (And Not Completely Miserable)

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The decision to be gluten-free is pretty simple, in that it isn’t so much a decision as it is a necessity. Being able to eat a meal without fear of the consequences is one that most people take for granted—and in this case, the consequences are painful. You may appear to have unbelievable self-control, but in truth, that Robicelli’s cupcake is absolutely not worth the unattractive side effects. So the hardest part isn’t turning down gluten-laden foods, it’s finding truly satisfying substitutes.

Thankfully, Brooklyn is full of them, both obvious and undiscovered. At Battersby they offer to hold the flour in their sweetbread without batting an eye, while Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope denotes every gluten-free option on their menu. So if you know where to look—and dine—you might almost forget you have any sort of dietary restriction at al.

Pazzi Pasta: If a cardiologist insists we should indulge in mass quantities of pasta, who are we to argue? Together with his southern Italian family, Dr. Giovanni Campanile runs this seriously charming eatery in Carroll Gardens, featuring noodles made with 80-90 percent of ancient milled grains, such as farro and kamut. And yes, there’s even a perfectly texturized option comprised of four high-nutrient gluten-free flours, which you can watch being mixed, kneaded and extruded before your very eyes, before being ladled with sauces such as ragu bolognese, smoked salmon and gorgonzola, or cauliflower, garlic and almond, which (bonus!) is also entirely vegan.
227 Smith Street, Carroll Gardens

Meal & Reel: Pazzi Pasta Review

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Pazzi Pasta is not your ordinary Italian restaurant. It is family-owned and was opened up by a cardiologist and he wants to serve up pasta that is not only delicious, but also good for you. When I walked into the restaurant it felt welcoming, casual, and really laid back.

The pasta is made fresh in store using ancient and whole grains right in front of you. It is then tossed in a delicious homemade sauce and toppings of your choice. I got to sample 4 different pastas and they were all served with different sauces. They were all really flavorful, but my favorite had to be the Gluten-Free Pasta with Funghi Boscoiola Sauce. The pasta might have been gluten free, but it was so tasty that I couldn’t even tell! Whenever you are in Cobble Hill, make sure to checkout Pazzi Pasta for some delicious pasta. It’s just like Nonna used to make, but healthier!

Some more info: “Dr. Giovanni is one of the nation’s top cardiologists and Director of The Dr. Dean Ornish Heart Disease Reversal Program that focuses on nutrition and lifestyle modification. He’s a co-owner of Pazzi Pasta in Brooklyn, and developed the concept with his family to create one-of-a-kind, fast-casual dining experience that brings nutritiously dense pasta dishes to its guests. Giovanni works with nutrition at the foundation of his practice, knowledge that he translates into the healthy dishes at Pazzi Pasta.”


Eat Up New York: Organic and Freshly Made Pasta in Brooklyn

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To be honest, I’ve never been a pasta lover. I don’t know exactly why, but maybe because it was never a staple in my family dinners, or maybe because once I became interested in health and nutrition, pasta never fit into this new lifestyle. All those carbs seemed unnecessary and also consistently left me with a stomachache.

Now now now, pasta is not the worst thing! But it’s not the best either, especially with how processed most are here in the states. Did you know that many Americans with a gluten intolerance can surprisingly tolerate gluten products like pasta in other countries, such as Italy and all over Europe? Mainly because the pasta we’re eating here is highly processed and includes many GMO’s, which are illegal in Europe.

So even though Pasta isn’t the worst, just for fun, let’s look at the nutritional value of your average bowl of pasta here in the US. Pasta is made from grain, so it’s energy-dense, aka high in calories. A one-cup serving of spaghetti has 220 calories, mostly from complex carbohydrates, with about 45g of carbohydates. Most pasta is made from refined grains that have had the husks removed, which gives it a lighter flavor and texture, but reduces the fiber content, as well as reduces the nutritional value.

These values shouldn’t be too shocking, but they may have you now wanting to find a healthier alternative that still tastes just as good as your favorite bowl of spaghetti.

Enter Pazzi Pasta

This fast-casual pasta joint is bringing organic freshly made healthy pasta (literally made in front of you) and locally-sourced sauces to one of the oldest Italian neighborhoods in Brooklyn. This family-owned establishments allows you to choose the type of pasta, sauce and toppings (very chipotle style). But what makes this pasta healthy? The chefs here focus solely on using the highest quality and organic ingredients, as well as only high nutrient and ancient grains, making the nutritional value of their pasta exponentially higher than others. Pasta options include, but are not limited to, Semolina, Farro, Kamut, as well as a gluten free pasta, which is a blend of 4 different gluten free flours.

Vegan & Vegetarian options at Pazzi Pasta

There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options (veg balls!) as well as seafood based sauces and meat.   The salmon sauce is HIGHLY recommended! Organic house made sodas, espressos, and some desserts like chocolate ravioli and almond cookies are also available, with many of those also being gluten free.

And this pasta is the real deal people! The texture is perfectly chewy and al dente and the sauces and toppings taste exquisitely fresh. And the prices don’t hurt either, small bowls go for $10 and large go for $13. My personal favorite is the gluten free pasta with the vegan cauliflower sauce, wow! Even though I’m not pasta’s number one fan, I’m officially Pazzi Pasta’s #1 fan! I cannot wait to go back to try more options and seasonal items.

Pazzi Pasta hosts cooking classes which allow you to get your hands dirty and make your own pasta, as well as eat it!

NO BREAD: Pazzi Pasta Review

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Pazzi Pasta is a Brooklyn hotspot for, you guessed it, pasta! In Italian, Pazzi means crazy. You know– out of the ordinary, passionately preoccupied, or absurdly fond of. This word perfectly describes my thoughts on the restaurant! I’m obsessed! They make their own gluten free pasta and have perfected the recipe. Plus, all of the sauces are gluten free and there are even some NOBREAD approved desserts to taste! Pazzi is definitely worth the trip to Carroll Gardens…

When you walk in, you are handed a cute little board and a marker. Wander over to the pasta bar to pick out yours! There are a lot of options for the gluten-eating crowd and the pastas come in all different shapes and flavors. The GF pasta is amazing! Make sure you tell the restaurant you are gluten free so that they boil a separate pot of water to cook your pasta in. It will take a bit longer, but I recommend you do so. If you are not sensitive to cross contamination and can handle your GF pasta being cooked in the same boiling water as regular pasta then no need to do so! Once you’ve sorted that out, check out the long bar of sauces. My friend and I were a little overwhelmed, so we ordered three combinations to share! We were drooling over the 4 cheese sauce, so we ordered it two ways! One dish just plain, and one dish with wild mushrooms added. The sauce is to die for, a creamy mix of emmental, fontina, gorgonzola, and asiago. Our third selection was pesto made with fresh basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, to which we added peas and pancetta. We gave the chef our boards and sat down with a glass of wine and a bowl of a Sicilian style minestrone soup… always good to get some veggies in while you wait for your meal! The pastas came out quickly and blew us away. I wish I could have tried more!

I’ll definitely be back to Pazzi! I’m dying to try their smoked salmon and gorgonzola sauce. Where else are you going to find that?! I’ve heard great things about their bolognese, too. Although they aren’t listed on the menu, Pazzi has amazing gluten free desserts, too! We had an indulgent chocolate almond cake and almond cookies made with almonds, honey, and powdered sugar. So simple and delicious! Head over to Carroll Gardens ASAP!

GOTHAMIST: Pazzi Pasta Doles Out Delectable "Healthy" Pasta In Cobble Hill

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Pasta is one of the very best foods in the universe—only pizza and bread are possible in competition—in this blogger's humble (and hungry) opinion. Unfortunately, all that refined white flour hiding in your spaghetti isn't so great for you—but if you swap out regular pasta for whole and ancient grains, you're doing your body a service. Such is the message at Pazzi Pasta, an adorable family-run joint that lets you mix-and-match ancient grains, semolina and other heart-healthy pastas with tasty sauces and proteins, so you don't feel like every bowl is a burden on your body.

The restaurant, run by Dr. Giovanni Campanile, his son Daniel Campanile, and his daughter Francesca Campanile, opened in Cobble Hill in October 2013, though I had the pleasure of dining there this week as a guest. The Campaniles pride themselves on the restaurant's "fast casual gourmet" atmosphere, where diners are invited to choose their own pastas, sauces and toppings cafeteria-style, then enjoy their meal at one of the space's simple tables.

But the hook here isn't just the low-key dining style—Campanile is a cardiologist, and the pastas here eschew enriched flour in favor of organic kamut, farro, semolina, cuttlefish ink, and the like (there are gluten-free options, as well). Fresh pastas come in all sorts of shapes, cooked al dente and delicately doused in sauces like grass-fed bolognese, a decadent smoked salmon & gorgonzola, and funghi boscoiola (avoid the weak puttanesca sauce if you can).

Tastiness of the majority of the pasta dishes aside, some of what makes Pazzi Pasta so delightful is that it's a family affair. The elder Campanile consults the younger Campaniles on the menu's nutritional value, while his wife, Dr. Sandra Cammarata, has offered dish suggestions from her native Southern Italy. Daniel Campanile, who has a long history working the food industry, manages the restaurant, while Francesca Campanile, who trained with pasta-makers in Genoa, helps run the kitchen. If you manage to speak with any of the Campaniles, you can tell their passion for food—healthy, tasty food—runs deep, and it's heartening to see how much they care about one another and the dishes they serve.

Dishes here run about $10 to $15 per person, and come with hearty in-house baked bread. You can also purchase fresh pasta from the premises if you're looking to make your own meal.

Pazzi Pasta is located at 227 Smith Street between Butler and Douglass Streets in Cobble Hill, Brookyn (347-916-1076,