Cooking with Volidity: Pasta Bread Bowl

Americans are spending billions of dollars a year to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. However, recent scientific research is pointing to a new culprit, FODMAPs, as the actual cause of much of our contemporary gastrointestinal distress. Gluten, it seems, is perhaps not the enemy of humanity we once imagined it to be (unless you have Celiac Disease--sorry, guys!). Now that gluten has been exonerated by Science, the Volidity Report has decided to prepare a dish that celebrates this special protein in its many forms. For inspiration, we turn our eyes to a pioneer of glutenous meal combinations: Domino's, creator of the BreadBowl Pasta™.

For a mere dollar extra[!], Domino's will encase a pasta dish within the bready confines of a "bowl" made from pizza dough. Now, if in theory such an innovation appears brilliant, in practice it has met with some rather harsh critiques, claiming that "the result is pasta that's simultaneously mushy and dry, like baked ziti that has been sitting out a day too long" or that the dish is "a salty, sloppy, non-sizzling bowl." With this in mind, following a time-honored tradition, the Volidity Report has appropriated and then elevated the concept of the BreadBowl Pasta™ into a dish of gluten-filled joy.

Of the five varieties offered by Domino's, the Italian Sausage Marinara BreadBowl Pasta™ was deemed the most promising, as it did not require Alfredo sauce. And as we could not procure our ingredients from the local factory/warehouse/distribution center, we decided to assemble our own, making as many elements from scratch as possible.

  • Homemade pizza dough (recipe sourced from a certain local pizzeria)
    • All-purpose flour (USA)
    • 00 flour (Italy)
    • Dry active yeast
    • Sea salt
  • Homemade tomato sauce (recipe here)
    • Organic canned whole tomatoes (WA)
    • Butter (USA)
    • Organic onion (NY)
  • Homemade ricotta cheese
    • Organic whole milk (USA)
    • Organic heavy cream (USA)
    • Organic lemon (CA)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (NY)
  • Parmesan cheese (Italy)
  • Fresh basil (NY)
  • Red pepper (NY)
  • Hot Italian sausage (NY)
  • Organic ziti (Italy)
Pizza dough made the day before is taken from the fridge, while ricotta is strained from milk, cream, and lemon juice. A single red pepper is roasted in the oven, then once cooled, its skin peeled.

The peppers are then chopped along with fresh mozzarella, basil, and a single hot Italian sausage that has been cooked on the stovetop. These ingredients will be added to the pasta once it has been boiled and strained.

The pizza dough is spun in the traditional manner, then fitted in metal mixing bowls, so that they may retain their essential bowl-ness during the baking process. Then the dough alone is baked for a few minutes in the oven.

The pasta is then added to the emerging bread bowls (with a sprinkling of parmesan on top), which are then returned to the oven for another round of baking.

And here you have it, the most glutenous gourmet dish around, perhaps only surpassed by some deep dish Chicagoan creation East Coasters can only dream of. Bowl appétit!

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