I have been looking for some time for a way of making pasta without eggs. I had tried it once using flour, water and oil only, but, well, it didn’t have the silkiness of egg pasta and it was much more difficult to keep together. Imagine how suprised I was when…..
I had been at a client’s site for a couple of hours. On the way home, hungry and in need of coffee, I called into Bottego to buy some cheese. Maybe, I thought, I would make some bread. Found a nice piece of cheese – Provolone – and I knew that I had olives in the fridge. That will do for dinner.
Then I thought to ask these wonderful Italian people who often talk food with me whether it was possible to make pasta without egg. YES, she said — just use semolina flour.
So, armed with great semolina flour, the cheese, and some other things I will mention in later posts, I came home and made fresh pasta for dinner. It was fantastic. The texture is somewhat different to regular fresh pasta, but it is oh so very very nice.
To the cooked pasta, I added salt (celtic sea salt) and my home ground pepper, a drizzle of the good olive oil, some chopped parsley from the garden and chunks of the aforementioned Provolone Cheese. The cheese just oozed over the pasta. Nothing more was needed.
Actually I made the pasta this time by hand (the pasta machine being banished to the dungeon since I stopped making egg pasta) but it would be great in a pasta machine too. I think the trick is to give the dough a longer resting time before rolling than you might if using flour and eggs.
[UPDATE: Check the comments from August 2011 for a discussion of flours, water, gluten content, binding agents and ways to experiment with making eggless pasta]
Semolina “No Eggs, Mum” Pasta
For each large serve:
0.5 cup semolina flour (med. or fine)
0.5 cup plain flour
3 – 4 Tblspn water
1 tspn of your best olive oil
Mix the semolina and flour, and gradually add water and oil, a spoonfull at a time, until a nice pliable and slightly wet dough is formed. The amount of water will vary depending on the flour, semolina and humidity. Leave the dough slightly wet as the semolina will absorb a little more water than ordinary flour will.
Let the dough rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 0.5 hour or more. I left it for 5 hours before rolling.
If you are making the pasta by hand, roll the dough out as thinly as possible. It might help to divide the dough into 2 before you do this, if you have a small bench. Keep rolling until it is as thin as you can get it. Cut into tagletelli sized pieces.
If you are using a pasta maker, roll the dough out, starting with the widest setting, roll it at least twice through each setting, gradually reducing the settings until it is as thin as you want it. Cut into desired widths.
Add to a large pan of boiling salted water with a teaspoon of oil added. Fresh pasta does not take long to cook. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the pasta, but will be only a few minutes.
Drain the pasta and place into serving bowl with a little of the pasta water to keep it slightly wet. Add your sauce – keep it simple to highlight the taste of the pasta rather than the sauce. YUM.
People are saying:
But I have a few problems with pasta as a daily food. Partly cause it’s dried out and old, I want the soft fresh stuff. But then the soft fresh stuff always has eggs in. And finally because it’s impossible to get decent wholemeal pasta, it always winds up tasting like cardboard, even after what feels like hours of cooking.
Well, vegeyum has solved the first two of my problems with a home-made eggless pasta which I will certainly be trying out soon.