Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fresh Vegan Pasta

I am considering offering fresh pasta at the bakery next month--not really a baked good, I know, but I think it will have some appeal. I have blogged about fresh pasta a few times before, and was particularly happy with the pumpkin pasta recipe. However, I have found that eggless pasta has a tendency to get mushy, or even a bit pasty (especially when you go back for a second helping). Eggs provide protein which helps bind everything together and, when cooked, give pasta its texture (at least, I think that is was happens). Running on this theory I decided to add more protein to my pasta with vital wheat gluten and see what happened. The results were exactly what I was looking for--a durable pasta that had a nice "bounce" when bitten without being too tough. I made some this weekend for some visiting guests (who make their own egg-based pasta) and they gave it their seal of approval. Next up: trying to make a whole wheat pasta.


INGREDIENTS
Makes 1 lb of pasta
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 cup tepid water (or more)

METHOD
1. Whisk together flours and salt (if using) in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Put water in the well and slowly incorporate the wet into the dry, making a rough dough, adding more water if needed.
2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth dough (5 mins). The dough should not break apart or crack, so wet your hands if the dough seems too dry. On the other hand, try not to make it too moist. The dough should be smooth and fairly tough.
3. Roll into a log and wrap in a slightly damp towel. Set aside for 20 mins to let the dough relax. Roll and cut as per usual.

NOTES ON FRESH PASTA
1. On Making: If the dough is too tacky when rolling, dip it in some flour. If your dough is too wet it will stick together when being cut.
2. On Storing: Fresh pasta can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer. However, you need to dry the pasta out a bit first or it will clump together. You can hang your pasta on drying racks, but I find it easier to sprinkle the pasta with flour and let dry spread out on floured linen towels. Rotate/flip the pasta every 10 mins, adding more flour, if needed. I let it dry for about 40 mins, until it is no longer tacky to the touch. Store in a plastic bag to keep from completely drying out.
4. On Cooking: Fresh pasta cooks in a flash. For spaghetti, I find it is done as soon as the water comes back to a boil. Drain and briefly rinse with a some cold water from the tap.

18 comments:

Kelly said...

I will have to try this variation as well. Thanks for your pasta recipes.

munin_and_hugin said...

In traditional dried pastas (like the brand Barilla) there is no egg. It's only in fresh pastas that that's used. If you want that nice pasta texture when making it fresh, try using semolina flour. It's made from durum wheat, which is a "hard," or high protein wheat. It's best if you have a pasta machine for this, because you need arms like a blacksmith if you want to roll it out yourself. It will also have that nice yellow color from the semolina, which makes it look more appealing to me.

Teresa said...

Try using all semolina with no white flour at all. I think it's the white that adds to its mushiness. (WHEN I make homemade pasta,) I make 100% semolina. It takes some rolling through the machine to get it together, but it definitely holds up well, dries hard, comes al dente, and tastes better. I've made ravioli, spaghetti, and fettuccine like this. All homemade pasta gets sticky when it sits in the pot a while, especially if it hasn't been dried first. Extra sauce helps. It's the white flour that makes it gross, really mushy and adds no flavor.

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balance, joy and food! said...

This fresh pasta looks so good!!!
I love fresh pasta, I used to have it every week when I was living in Argentina (50% Italian descendant). Unfortunately it's not easy to find fresh pasta in US, and I don't think I can make it. Hopefully one day I can get enough confidence and have a try!

osric said...

Love your blog and recipes! I recently discovered I have celiac disease and a soy allergy, so my vegan diet has to change pretty dramatically. No more soy analogs and no more gluten "meats". Have you tried to make any gluten-free, soy-free pastas?

Vegan Dad said...

osric,
I have not dabbled in gluten-free pasta yet. I suppose it would have to be made from rice flour?

Teresa said...

munin_and_hugin is right...Barilla and De Cecco are two of the best boxed pastas! Perfectly al dente, 100% semolina. De Cecco is probably better than Barilla. (What can I say---I'm a Pasta Snob.)

Amey said...

Do you have the cookbook Voluptuous Vegan? She has a couple of nice pasta recipes in there that I've had great success with... not that your own recipe doesn't look great!

Bugette said...

I just recently discovered your blog and have been sifting through it for a week now. I am working on transitioning into vegetarianism and possibly even veganism. I wanted to say thanks for all the recipes! They're so helpful for someone coming into the veggie world!!!!

Adam said...

I would say never rinse pasta, as that eliminates the exterior starch that sticks to the sauce that you (most likely) will put on after it's done...at least that is from my own experiences.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Wow! Great job! That looks wonderful...

Bianca said...

So how do you cut it that thin without a pasta machine? Or do you have one? I've tried making pasta before but it expanded in the water and it was HUGE! More like dumplings than pasta.

Reni said...

This looks yummy and I can't wait until you make some whole wheat pasta!

Thanks for sharing.

VeganLinda said...

I can't wait for you to perfect whole wheat pasta. I just got a pasta maker that used to be my mom's and I'm eagerly awaiting your perfected whole wheat pasta vegan recipes. :-)

Vegan Dad said...

bianca,
Yes, I have a pasta machine. It makes life so much easier.

Tara said...

When my mom used to make pasta she would opne the cupboard doors and hang it over the top of the doors until it was dried.

VeganDigest.com said...

This recipe was selected as the Vegan Recipe of the Day over at Vegan Digest on Nov 12th.