Lesson 4: Gluten Free Pasta

Last Updated on

If you have a really good basic gluten free pasta recipe (Gluten Free Egg Noodles Recipe), you can make almost any other type of pasta using it as a base. As an example, adding additional liquid (milk) makes Spätzle, a soft German pasta that creates little pasta clouds (an undeniably pleasant experience). Adding a good amount of baking powder or baking soda can produce bread-like dumplings that you can use in Fluffy Chicken and Dumplings Casseroles, which is closer to a biscuit. You can also make chewy dumplings as in this Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings recipe, which is much closer to pasta. (Just realize that chicken and dumplings are not the same as Asian dumplings.)

You can make Asian dumplings such as Potstickers to serve as an appetizer, side dish, or main dish. This type of dumpling can be cooked in various ways, steamed, skillet fried, or both. You can even deep-fry potstickers if desired. You can also combine pasta or dumplings with a batter. Just dip the raw potstickers or filled ravioli in the same batter that is called for in the Gluten Free Egg Rolls Recipe and then deep-fry them. You can also bread and fry such filled pasta.

Which Gluten Free Pasta Recipe is Best?

Using 100% starch with xanthan gum or guar gum along with some egg will provide the best textured and flavored pasta. A little oil makes the dough easier to handle and supple.

Having plenty of gum in the dough is key. Adding more gum than you may be used to using in other recipes is what creates pasta that you can add to soup, store leftovers for a couple of days, and when you reheat it, it is not soft and mushy. Lots of gum creates gluten free pasta that can withstand reheating, even more than once. If you choose to use a readymade, commercial gluten free flour blend to make your pasta dough, even if the mix contains some gum, you’ll most likely need to add an additional amount (xanthan or guar). Most blends are not heavy in starch. So, I really do suggest using only starches, gum(s), and oil.

Adding Flavor(s) to Pasta

You can add a little bit of another gluten free flour to create a unique flavor, if you wish. Seed flours such as amaranth add a little nutty flavor. Millet flour not only adds millet’s unique flavor but also adds a yellow color.  Just don’t use too much of additional flour or it will make the pasta too soft where you won’t be able to reheat it much.

Adding a little vegetable, whether fresh or powdered, can also add color and flavor. See the spinach or beet ravioli recipes in the below Assignment section.

Egg or No Egg?

If the recipe calls for eggs, the dough will be easier to manage. However, don’t think that since a little egg makes it elastic; therefore, more egg will make it more elastic. You’ll end up with soft pasta if you add too much egg. Always allow gum to work in your favor instead or egg. Gum creates elasticity as well, but it also adds structure/stability to the dough.

You can replace any amount of oil in gluten free pasta recipes with egg yolk to provide additional color and a more pronounced egg flavor (as seen in the above photo).

Mixing the Ingredients

There are three methods that may use to combine the ingredients in making gluten free pasta dough:

By Hand:

To make pasta dough by hand, add all dry ingredients to the work surface or bowl, create a well in the center, and add the wet ingredients to the well. Then you must quickly combine the ingredients, picking up a little of the flour at a time so as not to create dry lumps of flour.

Food Processor:

To use a food processor to make the dough, add the dry ingredients to the bowl and pulse to combine. Add the wet ingredients and pulse just until large pieces of loose dough begin to form. Then, test the dough for tenderness by squeezing some of those pieces together. If they do not form one mass, add a tiny bit of water and pulse some more. Prevent overmixing.

Electric Mixer:

If you prefer to use an electric mixer to make pasta dough, fit your mixer with the dough attachment (spiral tool). Add and combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer. Pour in the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed until the dough forms one mass and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Kneading the Dough

Once you have all of the ingredients combined, you need to knead the dough until smooth. Kneading is done on a floured cutting board, granite, marble, or smooth countertop (no grout), or non-stick surface such as a silicone baking mat. You don’t want to see a bunch of creases in the dough.

Resting the Dough

Allowing the dough to rest 10 -15 minutes, allows the flour mixture to absorb the liquids. This way, you’ll know exactly if your dough is supple and moist enough or too dry. If it is too dry, see the Tips section below to moisten it. Adding additional starch of any kind will absorb too much liquid. You never want the dough to be tacky. Resting the dough also prevents having to knead in some water at a later point.

Rolling the Dough

When preparing homemade pasta dough there are four methods you can use, depending upon the pasta you make. You’ll always grab a piece of dough to work with and store the remaining dough in a plastic dough to prevent it from drying out.

Rolling the Dough By Hand:

For traditional gluten free pasta, one method used to roll the dough is to do so by hand using a rolling pin. Be prepared to use plenty of starch to dust the surface. Potato starch works well. Also be prepared to use plenty of muscle! Rolling my egg noodle pasta is for the strong, not someone with arthritis in their hands.

Machine Rolling the Dough:

If you have a pasta rolling machine (I use this one), the process of rolling the dough is a breeze. Dust a small dough piece in potato starch or Gluten Free AllPurpose Flour. Begin with the notch on 0. Then, set it a notch thinner each time you pass it through the machine…notch 1, 2, 3, etc. You should be able to roll it to notch 6 without it sticking or tearing.

Piping:

You can use a piping device, ricer, or piping bag with holes to pipe out dough to make Spätzle. However, you’ll need to use a knife or kitchen scissors to cut the dough to your desired length. Because spätzle dough is soft due to the milk it contains, piping is easy.

Drop Method:

You can simply drop spoonfuls of dough into broth or soup as you would to make Chicken and Dumplings.

Cutting the Dough

You can cut the dough into numerous shapes and sizes. A 4-inch wide noodle is perfect for lasagna. Round or square-shaped pasta dough is perfect for filling. Slice the dough by hand use cookie or biscuit cutters, or your pasta machine.

Cooking the Pasta

When using raw pasta in baked dishes with sauces like lasagna or cannelloni, it is not necessary to precook the pasta. Just be sure to use a fairly thin sauce or whisk water into a thick sauce.

Boiling dry gluten free pasta calls for much more water than gluten pasta. When you boil fresh gluten free pasta calls it calls for even more water than dry. Plenty of water dilutes starchy water. Additional water also helps prevent the pasta from sticking to each other as does a splash of oil in the water. Cook the pasta to your liking. If you’re not going to serve the pasta right away, undercook by about 2 minutes.

As a side note, before you drain the pasta, set about 1 cup of pasta water aside. Adding a little to whatever sauce you plan on using helps the sauce stick to the pasta.

Once the pasta is done cooking you need to stop the cooking process by adding cold water to the hot pasta water, drain into a colander, and rinse under cold running water. If you’re not serving the pasta immediately, rinse it thoroughly with plenty of cold water until the pasta is room temperature. You can then store it spread out on a baking sheet and refrigerate. When cool, sprinkle a little cold water on top and toss gently to coat.

When you’re ready to serve, place in boiled water just long enough to warm thoroughly.

Don’t forget to add a little pasta water to your sauce.

Freezing Raw Dough

To freeze raw pasta, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay small groups of egg noodles in the shape of a wreath on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze solid. Transfer the egg noodles to a gallon or quart-size zippered freezer bag. When ready to boil, you don’t need to defrost the noodles. Just cook them in boiling water with a little oil to prevent sticking.

Drying Raw Dough

Freezing really is the best way to preserve egg noodles. However, if you are intent on drying them, you may. After cutting the dough, wrap small amounts into wreath-shaped piles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow the groups of noodles to dry for about 48 hours. Store at room temperature.

TROUBLESHOOTING

HOW DO I FIX DRY DOUGH?

If at any point your dough becomes dry, just ball it up together, make a well in the center, drop a little water into the well, and knead the dough until soft.

HOW DO I FORM EVEN PIECES OF DOUGH USING MY PASTA MACHINE?

Machines vary; however, the general rule of thumb is to add enough dough into the feeder of your machine so that is forced to fill one end to the other. Any additional dough will feed through just fine.

The only odd shape you’ll end up with is literally the end(s) of the dough.

ASSIGNMENT:

Make homemade pasta by choosing any of the below gluten free pasta recipes. You also may be interested in checking out the Gluten Free Sauce Recipes.

Gluten Free Egg Noodles – Use this recipe to make plain egg noodles, cannelloni, traditional lasagna, chicken & creamy basil lasagna, or chili lasagna.

You can also make this recipe for Gluten Free Basil Egg Noodles.

Gluten Free Spinach Pasta Gluten Free Beet Ravioli

Gluten Free Ravioli with Beef Filling (or your favorite filling) – You can even bread and fry them.

Gluten Free Potstickers

Gluten Free Pierogies

Gluten Free Spätzle

Fluffy Gluten Free Dumplings Casserole

Find any previous lesson in the syllabus.

© Copyrighted Wilkins Publishers LLC 2018. All rights reserved.