Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking (The Experiment, 2012), by Kelli and Peter Bronski, brings flavor to the table of those suffering from gluten sensitivities. The book implements simple baking, cooking, and preparation methods while covering a wide range of recipes including all meals, snacks, and dessert. The Bronskis have dealt with celiac disease in their own home and have been developing their gluten-free recipes for over ten years. The following excerpt is a recipe for a simple, gluten-free pasta dough. It incorporates an Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend that you can easily make at home.
Shortly after we were married, we inherited an Italian-made, manual pasta maker from Peter's mom. It's the kind that clamps on to your kitchen table and uses a hand crank to feed pasta dough through a series of rollers and cutters. We adore it, making long sheets of beautiful pasta dough, and then transforming that pasta dough into linguine, fettuccine, and other types of noodles. Now, we happily continue the tradition of making fresh pasta from scratch with this gluten-free recipe.
- 2 cups (250 grams) Artisan GF Flour Blend
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, beaten
- Mix the flour and xanthan gum together. Form the mixture into a mound on your work surface and make a well in the center.
- Add the salt and eggs to the well. Using the index and middle finger of one hand, swirl the eggs, slowing pulling in dry flour from the perimeter. Work the dough, pulling in more flour as needed until you have a smooth, moist dough that is not tacky. Clean your work surface and give it a fresh sprinkling of flour before moving on to the next step.
- Roll the dough out very thin (1/16-inch-thick or less) on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Use a long, sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the pasta into the desired shape (see variations). Lightly flour the blade of the knife or pizza cutter to prevent the dough from sticking. (If you have difficulty working with a single large sheet of pasta dough, you can always divide the dough ball and roll out several smaller sheets that are more manageable. Also see the box for notes on using pasta makers.)
Linguine: Cut the pasta into long, straight noodles not much wider than standard spaghetti.
Fettuccine: Cut the pasta two to three times as wide as linguine.
Lasagna: Divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces (depending on how many layers of noodles you want in your lasagna). Roll each piece of dough out into a broad, flat sheet that is 1/16 inch thick. Cut the pasta to fit the size and shape of your pan. Depending on the pan size and the number of layers of lasagna you'd like, you may need to double the recipe.
Ravioli: Cut into 2- or 3-inch squares. You can use a square or round cookie cutter if you're worried about getting uniform and exactly shaped ravioli halves.
Although making fresh pasta can require a little practice in the beginning, once you become proficient it doesn't take much longer than using store-bought, pre-made pasta. The difference is that you spend 15 minutes making fresh pasta and 2 to 5 minutes boiling it, versus spending 30 seconds to open a package of dried pasta and then 15 to 20 minutes boiling it.
Having said that, there may be times when you'll prefer to use store-bought pasta. Keep in mind that gluten-free pasta can be made from a variety of flours: rice, corn, quinoa, and others. We recommend using whole grain brown rice pasta. Also, a word of advice: It's easy to overcook gluten-free pasta, and when that happens, it quickly turns to mush. Cook the pasta only until it's al dente. Then immediately strain it and add it back to your recipe to finish the dish.
When making fresh gluten-free pasta from scratch, our secret weapon is an offset spatula, the kind you'd use to ice a cake. It's perfect for sliding under the pasta dough to separate it from the work surface when the dough sticks (this is especially helpful when rolling out broad sheets of pasta dough). It's also helpful for easily picking up and manipulating lasagna sheets, ravioli, etc.
In addition to making pasta from scratch strictly by hand, you can also try using a pasta maker (either a hand-cranked manual maker or an electric maker). Pasta makers come in two varieties: roller pasta makers (which form the pasta by passing it through a series of rollers and cutters) and extruder pasta makers (which press the pasta dough through a die with shaped holes or cutouts). Extruded pasta is denser than rolled pasta — as a result, it takes longer to boil and doesn't pick up the sauce as well. However, both styles of pasta can work. If using a pasta maker to make your fresh GF pasta from scratch, knead a little extra flour into the dough to make the dough just a touch drier, so that it doesn't stick to the pasta maker. We've done this with great success using our inherited Italian pasta maker from Peter's mom.
More from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking:
- Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend Recipe
- Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake Recipe
- Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread Recipe