Mascalzone in Putney makes the somewhat brave claim that any of their pasta dishes can be gluten free, at no extra charge. I decided to see if they could deliver on this. They could...almost. I love shellfish, so I chose the Linguine Cozze e Vongole (linguine with mussels and clams) which is cooked with cherry tomatoes and chilli. They'd run out of gluten free linguine, so I was offered gluten free spaghetti instead. Spaghetti alle Vongole is a classic in its own right, so I wasn't too dismayed by the change, though it wasn't quite delivering on their promise.
When the dish arrived, I was impressed by its appearance. The portion was generous, with lots of mussels and clams. But would it taste good? Yes, it did. The shellfish was plump and tasty. The tomatoes were well cooked, so that they were soft but not falling apart, and there was enough chilli to add a bit of bite but not so much as to overwhelm the shellfish. The only slight downside was that the pasta had an ever so slightly sticky texture, which gluten free pasta sometimes does. Other than that, the pasta was well cooked and the whole dish was delicious. The sauce was flavourful; as I've said, there was plenty of shellfish; and I didn't feel at all short-changed for eating gluten free. Well done, Mascalzone, I'll be back!
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