The gluten free boy doesn’t only eat sweets! Out to dinner at Piccolo Sogno…

Chef Tony Priolo and the gluten free boy!

gluten free spaghetti with aglio, olio and pepperincino* at Piccolo Sogno

We have a few favorite places in Chicago who will make gluten free pasta for our son.  We often go to Piccolo Sogno.  The chef and co-owner, Tony Priolo knows our son and the severity of his allergy.  He  makes him gluten free pasta with any sauce.  Matthew’s favorite is the classic aglio, olio and pepperincino (garlic, oil and hot red pepper flakes) and of course classic tomato sauce.

At Coco Pazzo in Chicago chef Chris will also make amazing Tuscan fries.  These are hand cut potatoes fried in clean olive oil and tossed with onions, thyme and sea salt.

Also gluten free at these restaurants is always a beautiful display of assorted grilled vegetables or antipasti as it is known in the mother land (Italy!)

My recipe below…almost as good as the Italian chefs before me!
                Serves  6 :

  • red and yellow bell peppers  x1 each
  • medium eggplant x1
  • carrots x 4
  • cippolini onions x8 (if available, if not use 1 large sweet onion)
  • asparagus x1 bunch
  • brussel sprouts x1 bag
  • cauliflower x1 head
  • shaved parmesan to sprinkle over asperagus
  • balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to season
  • fresh garlic, smashed
  • unsalted butter and grainy mustard for the brussels sprouts


  •  peppers: cut into 1″ wide slices from top to bottom of the pepper
  • eggplant: slice into 1/4″ thick rounds, brush liberally with olive oil and rub with garlic
  • carrots: cut into carrot stick sizes
  • cippolini onions: cut off each end and throw away skin
  • asparagus: clean and cut off white end piece about 2″ from end
  • brussels sprouts: cut off stalk at end , cut sprouts in half, soak and wash
  • cauliflower: wash and cut into individual floweret’s
  • you will need a few baking sheets because the vegetables will be done at different times.
  • after washing and cutting the vegetables,  divide them into baking pans, sprinkle liberally with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. check often to turn the vegetables.
  • -peppers and onions can go together
  • -eggplant and asparagus
  • -carrots and cauliflower
  • -brussels sprouts, alone


roast the vegetables until light brown, 25-35 minutes.  season with additional salt and pepper if needed. when the brussels sprouts are half way done, toss in 1 tablespoon butter,  1 tablespoon grainy mustard and 1 clove chopped garlic. roasted vegetables can be made early in the afternoon and served the same night.  just before serving, drizzle everything with balsamic glaze.

                          * recipe for classic aglio, olio and pepperincino 
                                     ( favorite of the gluten free boy!)

The first thing you should know when you venture into this classic and divine pasta  is that Italians are very picky about which pasta noodle to pair with which sauce.  Recently we were out for dinner and  one of the kids asked for penne with aglio, olio and pepperincino.  The MANAGER came to the table.  He said,  ”No, No, No….not penne with aglio olio…it won’t work.  You must have spaghetti.”  He was horrified at the  prospect of pairing penne with oil and garlic.  He was a little more lenient when my son asked for parmesan cheese to go on top of the oil and garlic spaghetti…that is also a big NO NO! 

The general rule is to stick with spaghetti and no cheese with this particular sauce…not sure why but as the saying goes, “do as the Romans do.”

       serves 4

  • -cook spaghetti according to directions on the box
  • while spaghetti is cooking:
  •  -in a small pot place 1/3 cup olive oil (the better the oil, the better the pasta)
  •  -chop 6 cloves fresh garlic (do not put thru garlic press) and put into oil
  •  -heat oil and garlic on low to medium heat until garlic is lightly browned.  remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley and a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes.  
  • -when pasta is done, strain it and place back into pot.  toss the warm pasta with the oil,garlic mixture.  
  • -Season with salt and pepper.


In the Summer when super sweet tomatoes are in season, I add some to the oil/garlic when it is almost finished cooking…divine!  I think the unwritten rule says, “if there are tomatoes in the oil and garlic sauce then parmesan cheese on top is allowed” 
I wonder if in this case penne noodles are also allowed?


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