Pasta is my favorite food in the world.
Pasta is sublime and comforting in its many forms, colors and textures. For an Italian cook, making pasta represents the very essence of cooking. It’s not only a habit, a tradition, a requirement. It’s deeper than that. It’s art. It’s in our genes.
Changing from a cornucopia of variety and flavors to gluten-free foods has lead me on a path of many twists and turns. Especially so for pasta.
Store bought GF pasta has finally improved but lots of what I have tasted has gone into the bin. And it does not help that I live in rural Umbria where strange and “fashionable” products are slow to appear on the shelves.
Ever since I discovered being wheat/gluten intolerant, I have sorely missed homemade fresh pasta.
For quite a while, I have researched, I have made experiments, I have discarded failures until today’s noodles. They are the real thing. As real as gluten-free pasta can get.
They have a neutral taste, they cook without falling apart even though they are almost as thin as wheat noodles. You can sauce them as you would do any pasta and you can roll them with a fork and pull them up from the plate in one single string, not in miserable bits.
Gluten-free pasta dough is more difficult to handle as it breaks easily and – being not as flexible – is not as forgiving as gluten pasta. If you cook for others who eat gluten, I advice you to try to make regular pasta a few times to get the hang of the method. Then make gluten-free pasta for yourself.
- 35 gr millet flour *
- 170 gr potato starch
- 170 gr corn starch
- 6 gr (2 teaspoon) xanthan
- 1 teaspoon psyllium husks
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
*you can also use rice, corn, buckwheat, basically any GF flour that you like to use to flavor the dough
Making the GF dough:
In a food processor blend all ingredients until the mixture begins to form thick crumbs. Meanwhile heat 1/2 cup water. Depending on the size of the eggs, you will need to add a variable amount of liquid in order to obtain a firm but pliable dough. With the blade running, add the hot water, one teaspoon at the time, until the dough forms a ball. You might need up to 3 tablespoon.
Getting the right consistency is crucial. Too wet and you will not be able to roll it through the pasta machine. Too dry and it will break making it impossible to shape it.
Now wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it rest at least 30 min. This resting period hydrates the dough and makes it easier to roll it.
Rolling the GF dough:
Set the smooth rollers of a pasta machine on widest setting. Cut the dough into golf-ball size pieces. Flatten one piece of dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin and feed it through the rollers. To prevent sticking, dust with any fine gluten-free flour you have.
Roll the dough as thin as possible and as quickly as possible. Don’t fold it like you would do with wheat flour. Make sure to keep your pasta sheets relatively short, max 20 cm (8 inch) otherwise they will break in the middle. Minimal manipulation is key to success with this beast.
I roll each piece of GF dough 3 times using the widest setting, an intermediate setting and one before the thinnest setting. The dough tends to shred if it’s too thin.
For example if the settings of your machine are numbered from 1 to 6, roll it at 1, 3 and 5 with 1 being the widest.
Place the pasta sheets on a wooden board or cotton towel to dry. Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner. The pasta should dry – at least 10 min. – before cutting so it will be more robust. You should however prevent it from becoming brittle.
Feed the sheets through a fettuccine cutter and return your beautiful gluten-free noodles to the kitchen towels to dry until ready to cook.
- This recipe is based on a variation of the GF flour mix used by Felix and Cappera and in turn derived from a recipe of Bette Hagman’s “More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet”.
- If you are celiac make sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients to avoid gluten contamination
- If you have allergies to some of the ingredients make sure to substitute by weight and type of ingredient (e.g. rice flour instead of millet flour, tapioca starch instead of potato starch)
- xanthan and psyllium are used to substitute gluten, check online where to buy them as this is not the same in different countries
- please check my recipe list for lots of suggestion of simple and seasonal pasta sauces