Friday, February 26, 2010

This Italian's First Time Making Pasta

I love pasta, but I know that most of the pasta available at stores is not whole grain, nor soaked to reduce phytic acid. So I had reconciled myself to never having it except once in a while. But alas! The Nourishing Gourmet has a very simple recipe, either cut into strips, or large squares for "handkerchief" pasta.

Yesterday I made the handkerchief ones, and they are delicious! Probably due to the soaking process they do not taste as "wheaty" as some of the whole grain pasta I have bought. R even liked them, and he does NOT like it when I make whole wheat versions of things (like pasta and pizza).

I have not tried it yet, but since I bought some organic durum wheat berries at Foodwise a few days ago, I want to try them for my next pasta attempt. Durum wheat is the traditional grain used for pasta. I will be using the whole grain version by grinding up whole durum wheat berries, not semolina which I believe is not considered whole grain.

Handkerchief Pasta
3-3 1/2 cups of freshly ground whole wheat/spelt/durum wheat flour (I used hard red winter wheat)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar)

1. You can use a Bosch to knead this dough, but I did it by hand since I have a Kitchen Aid and do not find it to be too great at kneading. (I want a Bosch! I am saving my pennies...) Combine water and vinegar in a glass or plastic bowl and then add 2 cups of the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep adding flour until you cannot stir it with the spoon anymore. Turn out on a floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is feeling nice and stiff. You should have to knead 10 minutes or so, until the gluten really develops and the dough doesn't stick as much.

2. Oil a bowl with olive oil, placing your dough ball inside, and then flipping until coated with oil. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and then set a heavy plate on top to firmly press the towel down. Find a warm place and leave on the counter overnight to soak. (I use my dehydrator set on 85 degrees.)

3. The next day, uncover your dough and do not worry if the top of the mound is darkened, it will not affect the flavor of your pasta. Cut dough into four pieces so you can work easily with each piece as you roll it out. Using arrowroot powder or white flour (white flour doesn't contain phytic acid, so it needs no soaking; I used arrowroot powder I got from Azure Standard), roll your dough very thin, to about 1/16 an inch thick or less. Then using a pizza cutter, cut into rectangular shapes, few inches per side.

4. Lay your cut pasta out on cooling racks, or just on the table or counter provided you flip them once in a while to ensure even drying. It should take about 12 hours to dry completely*, when they break crisply in half when you bend them.

*Store in a jar or bag for a few days/weeks? I am not sure how long they will keep, but I would guess about 2 weeks for optimal nutrition. You can also skip the drying and just make the dough the night before you want to serve it, and then use the freshly cut pasta for dinner the day you roll them out. They cook in about 2-3 minutes that way. We ate them last night over beef stroganoff, which was amazing. I need to post that recipe next!

1 comment:

EmilyCC said...

I'll have to try these! I'm not a fan of the whole wheat pastas I buy in the store.