Let’s be clear up front. No matter what other sites will tell you, it is not really possible in a home environment to produce the type of pasta that can made with eggs, or the commercially produced egg free pasta. We can make other pasta, however, that will good, and have a special taste and texture of their own.
I work with two different recipes. One with semolina flour, and one with besan, or chickpea flour. They give quite different results. It is good to experiment with both of them until you find a pasta noodle that you prefer.
It was my Italian provodore that put me on to semolina flour. When I began making egg free pasta with ordinary flour, the dough was difficult to work with and I could not get that silkiness that I really wanted from the pasta noodles. My providore sent me home with semolina flour and cheese, along with many other gorgeous ingredients.
I made fresh pasta for dinner. It was great. The texture is somewhat different to regular fresh pasta, but it is very good.
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. It needs patience and some love and attention. It does need more kneading than the egg based pasta dough.
Many people have left comments below with some helpful hints. Please read 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” Pasta
Alternatively, use all semolina flour and adjust accordingly.
Mix the semolina and flour, and gradually add water and oil, a spoonful 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 well salted, 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.
Chickpea Flour Pasta – Besan “No Eggs” Pasta
Another way to make pasta is with besan and wheat flour. This makes a great pasta dough, easier to work with than semolina pasta dough. The resulting pasta though does taste different than traditional pasta so think of it as a different dish. And because of the higher protein content, it is much more filling than normal pasta and perhaps a little heavier too. But I love it and make it as often as semolina pasta.
For 2 – 3 large serves:
3/4 cup chickpea flour (besan, garbanzo flour)
1-1/4 cup plain or pasta flour
1 cup or so of water
a glug of your best extra virgin olive oil
Mix the besan and plain flour, add the oil, and then gradually add water, a little at a time, until a nice pliable and just workable dough is formed. The amount of water will vary depending on the flour, besan and humidity. Leave the dough very slightly wet as the besan may absorb a little more water than ordinary flour will. Let it sit for an hour before rolling, cutting and cooking the pasta. I used the pasta machine, as described above.
Our sister site, Heat in The Kitchen, shows how to combine pasta flour, besan and semolina flour for successful pasta.
browse some pasta recipes
- Pasta with Tomato and Basil
- How to Cook Pasta Properly
- Rigatoni con Aglio Arrostito, Peperoncino e Funghi – Rigatoni with Garlic, Chilli and Mushrooms
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – Spaghetti with Chilli and Olive Oil