Gluten-Free Pasta

When I first went gluten-free, I was in a panic about how I would live without pasta. At the time (6 1/2 years ago), there were very few GF pastas available in stores, and they were all very clearly not “real pasta”. So I did what any kitchen nerd, and I asked for a pasta maker for Christmas, convinced I would quickly become the queen of gluten-free pasta.

Santa Claus brought me the pasta roller attachments for my Kitchen Aid mixer, I found a recipe to try… and I completely failed.

I don’t remember what flours I used, or in what proportions… I remember it was a sticky gooey mess, it tasted terrible, and there were a lot of tears involved. I think i tried one more time (this time making buckwheat noodles for lo mien, which was also a giant failure), and the pasta rollers went back in their box, where they stayed for 6 years.

Over the summer, I was in Earthfare and noticed a box of Jovial brand tagliatelle. I bought it on impulse, and when I cooked it up, I was shocked by how delicious it was! I had just accepted that only penne/fusilli/shell type pastas could be good without gluten, but I was inspired once again. I spent some time on Google and Pinterest, read many many recipes, and finally got up the courage to try again.

This recipe was my starting point.

A lot has changed for me in the last 6 years when it comes to gluten-free cooking and baking. I have learned that I just don’t love the taste of chickpea flour. I have learned that I feel like complete garbage if I have too much tapioca starch. I have learned that, when armed with my kitchen scale, how to convert and tweak recipes very well. So I tweaked the recipe based on what I like and had on hand, measured by mass rather than volume, and it was a resounding success!  

Gluten-free Pasta Dough

Ingredients

  • 40 grams cornstarch
  • 40 grams sweet rice flour
  • 40 grams sweet white sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 extra Tbsp water (I didn’t need this, but on a less humid day maybe I would have)
  • extra flour for dusting surface (I used white rice flour)

Directions

  1. Measure out the dry ingredients and sift them into the food processor bowl. Pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Whisk eggs and oil together in a small bowl, and gradually pour them into the food processor, pulsing to combine. My dough formed together into a ball, and wasn’t too sticky, so I decided it was probably ready.
  3. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead a few times to make sure everything is incorporated and not too sticky. Then divide dough into 4 pieces.
  4. At this point, I followed the directions for my pasta roller. The goal is to get it really thin, and I suppose it is possible to do that by hand as well.

 

Variations

Ravioli

My first adventure into successful pasta-making was the ugly ravioli seen in the bottom right photo above. For the ravioli filling, I sautéed some finely chopped onion, garlic, crimini mushrooms, and mixed greens seasoned with salt and pepper. I let it cool a little bit, mixed in some goat cheese, and then added about a teaspoon of the mixture to each ravioli. My only complaint is that I wish I had been brave enough to add more filling to the ravioli — next time I definitely will!

Basil Tagliatelle

I had tons of fresh basil in the garden, and tossed a big handful into the food processor while mixing the dough. The added moisture from the fresh basil made the dough stickier, so I added a little extra white rice flour to balance it out. The basil flavor was subtle, but really wonderful, and the color looked a bit more green in person than in the photo. I would love to try different flavors and colors. I have read about using roasted beets to make a red pasta, and saffron for yellow. Sounds fun! I sliced the dough into wide noodles with another roller attachment for the Kitchen Aid.

Garganelli2015-08-26 10.10.31

Penne has always been one of my absolute favorite pasta shapes. There are plenty of gluten-free penne pastas available at the grocery store, but I love when I can make something myself! Penne, however, is made with a pasta extruder (like a Play-Do Fun Factory for grown-ups), and I don’t have one of those. It turns out garganelli is rolled by hand, and is basically rustic penne.

I ordered a garganelli board and a ravioli/pasta wheel (shown at the right). When it arrived, I made another batch of dough, rolled it out really thin with the pasta roller, cut it into little squares, and I feel like I was pretty successful! It reminded me of taking pottery classes — it was very relaxing, and if I screwed them up really badly I just scrapped them and eventually re-rolled that dough to try again (or just cooked and ate it anyway, because my stomach doesn’t know the difference).

Farfalle

I was really proud of this experiment! I cut the dough into little rectangles using the pasta wheel, using the straight side in one direction and the fluted side in the other. I then gently pinched the little rectangles in the middle, dotted the center with water so it would stick, and let it dry. Aren’t they adorable?

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