2008-11-15

Flax Seed Pasta

During my pre-motherhood existence, I had started to learn to make homemade pasta. The Kid's egg allergy, which we discovered a year postpartum, completely derailed that line of line of culinary exploration. That is, until now. (Drumroll, please.)
I decided to try substituting flax seed meal for eggs in pasta dough. To my complete and utter astonishment, it created lovely workable dough, which made pasta with a nice tooth and nutty flavor, slightly reminiscent of soba noodles. My old recipe called for 3 Cups of flour, 3 eggs, and a pinch of salt. Here's the new version:
3 C flour (I used King Arthur bread flour)
3 Tbs flax seed meal + 1/2 C water, blended

1/2 C water in addition to flax seed mixture

1 tsp olive oil

large pinch of kosher salt

Using a stick blender, pulverize the flax seed meal and water to get maximum glutinousness. (Heh.) Mix flour and salt together on a flat surface and make a well in the center. Pour flax seed mixture and olive oil into well and mix into flour. While mixing, add in the additional 1/2 C water, using less or more if necessary. Use a dough scraper to bring ingredients together and knead until it becomes a stiff, uniform dough. Form into a ball, then place in a plastic bag and allow to rest for at least half an hour. (The rest period for my dough was somewhat longer.)
Cut off smaller pieces of dough, flour well, and run through a pasta machine from higher to lower settings, then cut into desired shape. (I recommend using a pasta machine rather than shaping by hand, though you could roll it out with some muscle and give it additional rest periods covered in plastic to make the dough more easily workable.) The dough did best at the second to lowest thinness setting on the machine for the final pasta. I divided my batch and made half as flat noodles and half as pumpkin filled raviolis.
For noodles, simply cut with the machine or by hand, then separate onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and place in freezer for 30 minutes. After the half hour, use immediately or move into a freezer bag for longer storage. To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add frozen noodles to water, allow to return to a boil, then reduce temperature and cook for six to eight minutes, checking for doneness before draining pasta. The thickness of the pasta will determine the length of time needed, so watch closely.
Since the noodles reminded me of soba, I made a quick miso glaze for them:
1 C water
1 Tbs miso paste

1 Tbs corn starch

3 mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 green onions, chopped

sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

Combine water, miso, and corn starch in a small pan. Whisk together until smooth. Add mushrooms and green onions, and bring to a boil while stirring. Mix with noodles, sprinkle sesame seeds and serve immediately. (The green onions are better if they are added after it has been boiled, but I habitually overcook onions in deference to The Kid's palate.)
Pumpkin Ravioli
I baked a small, 3 pound pumpkin for an hour at 350°F after cutting it in half, removing the seeds and pulp, rubbing the exposed surface with olive oil, then placing it open side down in a baking dish. It produced almost exactly 3 C of cooked pumpkin, which was more than I needed for the mild filling:
2 C cooked pumpkin
1/2 C coconut milk

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with a blender until smooth.
My ravioli making technique is atrocious, but since it's been about six years since I attempted to make them, I'll just apologize for the unappealing pictures and post them anyway. I think, though, that I felt I had to use the ravioli mold which has been gathering dust for that time, and they would have been much nicer and less tedious if I had just made larger raviolis by hand.
Since I am the wrong source for directions on how to make ravioli, I'll just let you know that the mold needed to be sprayed with olive oil before having the dough placed on it and that I used more of the coconut milk instead of eggs as glue for the little dumplings and then I'll leave you to your own devices.
Once you have produced your tiny darlings, allow them to dry on a cooling rack for at least half an hour. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes. Toss very gently with a little olive oil and salt and serve immediately.
I'm sending these recipes both to Madhuram at Eggless Cooking for her fantastic Flax Seed Meal Egg Replacement Event and to the always inspiring Presto Pasta Nights, which was begun by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and will be be hosted this week by Nilmandra of Soy and Pepper.

10 comments:

Madhuram said...

That's fine Libby, I'm yet to do the round up, I'll surely include it. Thanks for the mouthwatering entries.

Of late, I've become a pasta fan. Thanks to the exhorbitant price of rice. Both the miso pasta and pumpkin ravioli sounds like a very interesting idea.

Maggie said...

This sounds great even for those of us that can have eggs. Can you taste the coconut milk in the pumpkin filling? It sounds delicious to me but Alex is finicky about coconut taste.

Ricki said...

Those just sound great! I love the miso glaze you added as well. I've never had much luck with fresh pasta, but think I must try this one. Bookmarked!

shellyfish said...

Flax-Pasta? Brilliant! And how healthy, too. I know I'll try this - even w/out a pasta maker, it just looks so pretty!
Thanks for words of encouragement. At least I'm too injured to make myself cookies to drown my sorrows in!

Nilmandra said...

The pasta looks pretty with the flax seeds! Sometimes food allergies brings out the most wonderful creativity. I love the miso glaze. Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights.

Kevin said...

That pumpkin ravioli looks really good!

Ruth Daniels said...

What perfectly lovely pasta. It's so nice to see that people with food allergies aren't relegated to eating boring food anymore.

Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. I hope you plan on sharing more tasty treats with us.

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I borrowed a pasta maker to try this out and will definately be buying one. It tasted so good even with a regular tomato ragu.
So great to be able to make something as special as fresh pasta!

KirillStorch said...

hey my kid has irritable bowel syndromes, can you recommend any of the recipes off this site for that?

Libby said...

Hi Kirill, I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the dietary guidelines for IBS, so I don't want to give you bad advice. If you have a list of specific foods to avoid, I may be able to help. Good luck!