It’s about 18 months since Gluten Free Man went gluten free and in that time I’ve formed one or two opinions on gluten free pasta. First up, there are some pretty decent substitutes out there. Brown rice spaghetti doesn’t taste that different to its whole-wheat counterpart and I’d be pushed to spot that some pasta shapes are gluten free when smothered in a tomato based sauce. That said there are some definite limitations …..
The price, as with all gluten free substitutes, is much higher than wheat pasta. It doesn’t work cold as a pasta salad. Those shapes that work so well in tomato based sauces suddenly seem heavy and claggy when coated in cream and cheese based sauces. The lasagne sheets available in my part of the world seem to be exclusively corn pasta (and Gluten Free Man’s verdict was that he wouldn’t bother again because melt in the mouth and pasta shouldn’t really go together). There don’t seem to be gluten free options available for filled pastas like ravioli and I haven’t found gluten free egg pasta.
So, when I spotted on the My New Roots blog that Sarah Britton had posted a chickpea egg pasta recipe, I was intrigued to say the least. You can find Sarah’s original here. I’ve made it three times now and the recipe that follows is essentially the My New Roots recipe but with more exact measurements and detailed instructions based on what has worked for me.
Once you get the hang of it making pasta is simple and enjoyable. By my third attempt I managed to make fettucine in 10 minutes from measuring out ingredients to having the pasta ready to drop into the pan. However, my first attempt was an afternoon’s work so this is definitely a recipe to save for one of those days when you feel you have time to mess about and experiment in the kitchen.
Equipment wise I would recommend a pasta machine to achieve thin pasta sheets (scour charity shops and places like TKMaxx which sell reduced homewares) but a tortilla press might work at a pinch. I use a mixer with the dough hook to prepare the pasta dough and this is the instruction I give. My New Roots gives a method for hand mixing. When I tried this there was more mix on my hands than in the bowl and I found it a completely unsatisfying experience – but the end result was still delicious!
Gluten Free Egg Pasta
Attach dough hook to your stand mixer. Put gram flour and salt into the bowl of the stand mixer and mix well.
Add eggs and olive oil to the centre of the bowl. On a low setting (setting two on my kitchen aid) mix for 4 – 5 minutes until all ingredients are fully combined. You may need to stop to scrape down the bowl a couple of times.
This recipe doesn’t behave like a gluten dough – you won’t get the same elasticity and the sides of the bowl may be completely stuck up with dough rather than clean. What you are looking for at this stage is something that looks and feels a bit like play doh when you squish it together.
Shaping the Pasta:
Using the clamp provided, firmly attach the pasta machine to a clean surface and dust the surrounding area liberally with the buckwheat flour.
To prevent a congealed mess sticking to the rollers of the pasta machine you want to make sure that the pasta dough has a coating of buckwheat flour on each roll. This inevitably means that the end pasta is a mix of buckwheat and chickpea but it gives a lovely flavour and makes the dough behave well.
Cut 1cm wide ‘slices’ from your block of dough to take through the pasta machine. Place your first slice on the dusted surface and gently flatten with your hand, coating both sides in the buckwheat flour.
Adjust to ‘3’ and repeat again. If you want lasagne or filled pasta then stop at this point.
This is where you start to see the limits of the brittle rather than elastic dough. Any thinner and the dough is likely to tear. If your pasta machine has a spaghetti or fettucine roller and you are wanting long pasta ribbons then carefully repeat with the roller set to ‘4’. Dust the pasta one last time before then passing through the fettucine/spaghetti roller.
Lasagne sheets need no pre-cooking before being layered into the lasagne. Cook the finished dish as you would a regular lasagne.
Filled pasta and fettucine/spaghetti cook in three minutes. Bring a pan of water to boiling point before tipping in your pasta. Time exactly to make sure you get al dente pasta.
We have tried this in lasagne, as ravioli and with a range of sauces so can guarantee that it is a versatile pasta recipe.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Registered Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.