Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Gluten Free Pasta? I'm all ears!

Way back at the start of this month the Gluten-free Ratio Rally posted their pasta recipes. If you missed it, check out host Jenn Cuisine for the round-up.  I had spent a few happy afternoons in June working on my own contributions, but as July started I found myself swept up in work and exhaustion and I missed the deadline to post it.  I had so much fun making it that I decided to post it anyway.  Better late than never, as they say!

The ratio for pasta is 2 parts egg to 3 parts flour.  That's it.  Easy, right?  Well  read the other posts to see that it's not that simple.  'Normal' pasta uses flour that is high in gluten to ensure that the dough is pliable, without it you may find it a bit on the crumbly side.  The answer, as it turns out is to use more egg yolks than egg whites, I unwittingly did this by using duck eggs with massive yolks, if you are using hen's eggs then I'd add an extra yolk for every whole egg you use.

I don't have a pasta maker.  It's a standing joke in my family that a pasta maker is an under-used gadget in my  Mum's kitchen (even more so than the ice cream maker...) I have avoided taking the plunge for fear that mine too will become ammunition for ridicule.  That said, I opted for orechhiette which is hand shaped, so no need for the fore-mentioned gizmo.

Orechhiette means "little ears", which gives you a clue to what they should look like.  If you search the word on YouTube you will find videos of Italian nonas making piles of these at the speed of light.  I took much longer and the finished product was far from perfect, but given a number of years perhaps I'll have my own video online!

As a general rule, one egg will make enough pasta for one serving.  The easiest way to measure all the ingredients is to first weigh the eggs, then you know how much flour to use (especially if you are not using duck eggs because they will be different sized.)

2 duck eggs
110g brown rice flour
110g tapioca flour

  • Add the flours to a large bowl and combine.  Make a well in the middle of the flours and add the eggs
  • Combine the flour with the eggs, a little at a time, using your hands until you have a stiff dough.
  • Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Once the dough is chilled, flour your surface well and knead the dough to soften it slightly.
  • Break off a chunk and roll into a sausage about 1cm thick.

  • Cut of a piece, 1cm wide and using your thumb squash the dough flat then pull your thumb towards you to shape the orechhiette.
  • You can round it off in the palm of your hand if you like. 
  • Repeat until all the dough is used up and you have a pile of little ears.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta.  Bring back to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes, the pasta should still have some bite.
To serve, I took the skins off a couple of sausages and broke them up in a pan with some chopped garlic and tomatoes.  Once the meat was cooked I tossed in the cooked orechhiette and served with lashings of Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.

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