Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whole Wheat Pasta Dough from scratch

My name is Kim and I am a pastaholic. Growing up in an italian family always has this common thread: pasta. As an adult I have been surprised to learn that not everyone has pasta with every meal, and can sometimes go a whole week without pasta at all. Perhaps this is why us italian girls keep a little chunk on.

Anyhow, as an adult I have also found that it is important to keep cholesterol low and carbs low, which also means switching from the white smooth pasta to whole wheat pasta. I am embracing this wholeheartedly and have even enjoyed the added flavor of a whole wheat pasta and am looking forward to more ways to get creative with it.

I surprised myself this week when I realized that I had never made pasta from scratch before. Sure I have helped my mom/relatives make some but never on my own. Well this has officially come to pass. And while easier than I thought it would was also a bit of a chore. Will I do it again? Heck yea!

  • 1C whole wheat flour
  • 2.5 egg whites
  • splash of salt
  • 1T milk (if you are making a stuffed pasta, of course I use skim organic)
  • If you are feeling creative you can add completely drained spinach to make it green

Making the Dough Balls
  1. Work on your counter-top or another nonporous location 
  2. Pour the flour as a mountain on the counter
  3. Create an inner volcano area to place the eggs
  4. Careful not to let it all run off, smoosh it together and let the flour start soaking it in
  5. Throw in your splash of salt to add some flavor, and certainly the spinach here if doing so
  6. Start kneading and working the dough here, adding the milk carefully if using it
  7. Spend at least 10 minutes working and kneading the dough with the palm of your hands to ensure a proper blend
  8. When you are getting towards the end the dough should become elasticy. You can bounce it off the counter if you're not careful. However throwing it and kneading should continue until it is smooth, elastic, and a proper dough consistency.
  9. Place the dough in a plastic wrap/bag and lock airtight for 30-60 minutes. This process will release the glutin and it should become softer and easier to work with. You will likely want to separate these dough balls into workable sizes perhaps the size of a tennis ball.

Cutting into Pasta
  1. Once you can more easily depress the doughballs you will want to get ready for pasta prep
  2. If you have a pasta machine you can use that at this point otherwise follow the instructions here
  3. Remove a doughball, keeping the rest tightly wrapped until you are ready to work with it.
  4. Use a wooden rolling pin well caked with flour to roll it out until it is almost paper thin. It is a balance here because if it is too thin you will have trouble holding the filling if you are making a stuffed pasta. 
  5. Go here for nonstuffed pasta
    1. For nonstuffed pasta leave it to dry on a kitchen towel for 15 minutes before making your cuts
    2. After about 15 minutes you can start your cuts using a sharp knife
    3. After cutting let it sit at least 5 minutes before boiling. Or if you would like uncooked pasta can sit in a pantry for over a month if you sit it in an uncovered bowl mixed up like a birdnest, just make sure its completely dry before storing like this.
  6. Go here for stuffed pasta
    1. Once it is flattened to your desired thickness start cutting your pasta pieces. So many options here. For raviolis you can cut into squares to prepare for folded triangles, you can make circles for more of a tortelini experience... Regardless if you are working with stuffed pasta you want to do this quickly while the milk is still keeping it sticky enough to close.
    2. For stuffed pasta as soon as you cut, spoon your filling, fold it over, and completely seal the edges, place it on a plate to prepare for boiling

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