By Bianca Coleman
(picture: The Verde Rosso Banting “pasta” option)
One of the things that might be stopping you from adopting a low carb diet is that you’ll be missing out on two of the best things in life: pizza and pasta. And that could be rather sad if you’re a fan of Col’Cacchio, which has specialised in those dishes for more than 20 years.
“Could be”, I said. Because the pizzeria chain is not going to let a little thing like Banting get in the way of your great meal. In any event, they make the most awesome, huge salads, and have already taken health and kilojoule concerns into consideration with their pizza foro – 28cm pizzas with a hole in the middle filled with a crispy fresh salad of lettuce, cucumber, radish, carrots and pickled red onion.
A standard pizza at Col’Cacchio is 31cm, with a wide range of creative and delicious toppings. A wheat and gluten-free base is 30cm, and costs an extra R20. These are made from rice, maize flour, tapioca and zanthum gum and are yeast, sugar and egg free. My partner cannot tolerate gluten and is always wary when eating out. Even if the dish itself is gluten-free, it can come into contact with the offending stuff in the kitchen, so we were reassured by our waiter that these pizzas are cooked in an entirely separate oven. It almost seems a shame that something as wonderful as pizza is inaccessible to so many people with dietary requirements so we can thank Col’Cacchio for looking after us.
The Banting pizzas are on much smaller bases for some reason – a teeny tiny 21cm – and made from cauliflower, psyllium husks, egg, parmesan and seasoning. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re on a diet. Served with a side salad of lettuce, carrots, cucumber, egg, parmesan and radish, there are some standard toppings available which fit in with this eating plan, but I’m pretty sure you can add your own to the basic margherita base.
More good news is that Col’Cacchio has added new Banting “pasta” dishes to its summer menu, as well as desserts. Using zucchetti (a made up word for courgette “spaghetti”), these are the Piccante made with zucchetti, pomodoro, chorizo, peppadew piquante peppers, mascarpone, and chilli flakes; and the Verde Rosso, a combination of zucchetti, basil pesto, Italian parmesan and toasted pumpkin seeds, topped with a with chicken parmigiana breast. I tried this, and it’s quite good, although the texture of the zucchetti is a lot harder than real pasta so the mouth feel is very different, and you can’t really twirl it around your fork.
We’d started with beef carpaccio and caprese salad, both of which fall into both the gluten- and carb-free categories, and we finished with one of the new desserts – Banting cheesecake on a macadamia cacao base. This is has no flour so it’s good for the non-gluten folks too. It’s also perfect if your sweet tooth is underdeveloped, like mine is. There is now also a panna cotta made with coconut and served with blueberry compote.
For “normal” people, other new dishes this summer include the Polpetta pasta with meatballs, fresh rocket, chilli, grilled baby marrow, sesame seeds and Italian parmesan; and the Orientale salad with a combination of chicken, chopped lettuce, julienned carrots, cranberries, coriander, red onion, almond flakes, edamame beans, sesame seeds and oriental dressing. Finish off your meal indulgently with the Fire & Ice, a selection of frozen berries with hot white chocolate sauce.
* There are Col’Cacchio outlets all around the country.
Visit www.colcacchio.co.za for more details and to find the one closest to you.
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