Billy and I loooove pasta, we probably eat it at least once a week. I know that regular pasta made from white flour isn’t that nutritious, and I usually justify eating it by adding tons and tons of veggies. I adore the regular pasta that comes from a box; it cooks perfectly al dente, it’s versatile, it’s easy to use and it’s yummo.
While it is healthier, I absolutely detest whole wheat or whole grain pasta that comes from a box; there’s no getting it al dente, it’s either too firm or too soft, and for me texture is a really big thing when it comes to pasta.
Having said all that, I am making a big effort to eat better so I actually have a bag of gourmet whole wheat pasta in my cupboard…but it’s been in my cupboard for months because I just can’t stand the thought of being disappointed by it…pasta is that important to me, and to Billy for that matter.
Now homemade, fresh whole grain pasta; that’s a whole different animal! There’s just something primal and satisfying about kneading and rolling the dough for fresh pasta. Now you could go ahead and use a food processor to make your pasta, but where’s the fun in that? Fresh pasta is more chewy when it’s cooked compared to the firmness of boxed pasta; also fresh pasta absorbs more liquid, so it really soaks up whatever sauce it’s cooked in and the dish ends up being 10 times more flavorful than if had been made with boxed pasta.
I recently made Fresh Spelt Pasta, which makes for firmer, and less delicate fresh pasta than wheat flour does, it also has more protein, and it’s slightly nutty in flavor. Since I really like the flavor of Fresh Spelt Pasta, I choose to keep the accompaniments pretty simple. I made a Broccoli Rabe Ravioli with a sauce of roasted tomatoes and olive oil, and I also made fettuccini with snow peas, and mushrooms, super simple…those recipes are coming soon!
I don’t know if I’ll be opening up that bag of whole wheat pasta any time soon, but you can bet your fancy pants that I’ll be making a whole lot more Fresh Spelt Pasta!
Here’s what you do.
|The ingredients: Spelt flour, semolina flour, salt, room temperature eggs and room temperature water.|
|I like to mix the spelt and semolina flours with the salt in a bowl, so that I can be sure they are combined well.|
Mound the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
Using a large wooden board works the best, but if you don't have one just use your counter top.
|Add the eggs and 2 teaspoons of water into the well and use a fork to whisk them.|
|Incorporate a little more flour at a time as you whisk.|
|When the dough looks like cookie dough, start to knead it with your hands, working in the remaining flour as you knead.|
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
If when all of the flour is absorbed into the dough, the dough is sticky, add a little more flour.
If the dough is dry, add water a teaspoon at a time.
When the dough is smooth, you're done kneading.
Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.
|Cut the rested dough into 6 pieces.|
|Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten it out slightly with your hands, and then put the dough through the pasta roller on the widest setting (number 1).|
|Fold the dough in half...|
|...And roll the pasta through on setting number 1 again. Do this a couple of more times to make a smooth pasta.|
|I was able to make 3 dozen ravioli with the pasta.|
Fresh Spelt Pasta is best served fresh; once it's been rolled and cut it can be refrigerated for a few days, or frozen, but is not really great if it's dried.
FRESH SPELT PASTA
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups Spelt flour
1 cup Semolina flour
½ tsp. Salt
4 Eggs, room temperature
2-6 tsp. Water
1. In a medium bowl, mix together thoroughly the spelt flour, semolina flour and the salt. Pour the flour mixture on to a board or counter top and make a mound. Make a well in the center of the mound and add the eggs and 2 teaspoons of the water. Whisk the eggs with a fork trying not to let the eggs run out of the mound. Keep whisking and incorporating a little more of the flour with each whisk.
2. When the dough is about the consistency of cookie dough, start to knead it with your hands. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. If the dough has absorbed all of the flour and is sticky, add a little more flour. Conversely, if the dough is not absorbing the flour add a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
3. Form the kneaded dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.
4. When the dough has rested cut it into 6 equal pieces. Flatten out a piece of the dough with your hands, and then run it through the pasta roller on the widest setting (setting # 1), fold the rolled dough in half and roll it through the pasta roller on the same setting, do this 3 or 4 times to make the pasta smooth.
5. Now turn the dial on the pasta roller to number 2 and roll the pasta through just once; repeat the process, turning the dial up to the next setting each time until the pasta reaches the desired thickness (I find that because there is less gluten than traditional pasta, that Spelt pasta is difficult to get super thin and only go to number 5 on my pasta roller). Lay the rolled pasta on a board that’s been dusted with plenty of flour. Repeat with the remaining pasta dough.
6. Cut the pasta into the desired shape. Spelt pasta may be rolled into sheets for ravioli or lasagna or into noodles. If rolling out noodles rather than sheets, be sure to sprinkle more flour on the cut noodles to keep them separate.
7. Cook the fresh pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, once the noodles float to the top, continue to cook for about 2 more minutes, or until they’re done to your liking.
You may also like:
|Handmade Soft Corn Tortillas|
|Fresh Semolina Pasta|
|Sweet Potato Gnocchi|