Okay, to back-pack off of my angry post from before, I have finally calmed down enough to type an actual post about my actual experiences in the kitchen with that messed up pasta recipe.
I had mentioned that I was craving pasta, but since I had been having bad reactions to gluten and rice, I had held off on both of them until after my allergist appointment only to find out that I’m actually allergic to both (YAY!).
So buying pasta or going to a restaurant was completely out of the question.
Next best step, finding a flour that I could actually eat and attempt to make pasta at home from that. That’s where Otto’s Cassava flour came in. Not only was it paleo certified, but it was also gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free! So it had zero of my allergens, which is a valuable rarity.
Working with this flour was similar to my experiences with coconut & soy flour, where it just absorbs every single drop of liquid, but unlike the other two, this flour can really come together to form a solid texture. Anyone who has tried just substituting either of these flours for regular wheat flour knows what I’m talking about. They just don’t come together. Almost everything has a gritty, crumbly texture, unless some other form of starch or flour is added to it.
So, I first attempted cassava flour muffins because muffins are delicious and simple enough to make. The final result?
They were good. They had the flavor I was looking for and there was only a slightly off aftertaste, which I’m attributing to my usual usage of wheat flour. It wasn’t terrible and I know I only noticed it because I was looking for it. The flour also turned my muffin batter more into a muffin dough, and after a prolonged baking time of 30 minutes, I had determined that I needed to add more liquid and less flour to balance out the denseness caused by the cassava flour.
I will post the final recipe when I figure that out.
The second item I decided to try was handmade, homemade pasta, because that seemed like the most logical next step. Not cakes, or pies, or anything simple… Pasta. Plus, I was hoping I could become a really dope pasta maker so I could finally calm my intense mac & cheese craving. It’s a freaking beast and I’m growing weaker and weaker with each passing craving onslaught.
So I looked up a recipe online (I do that sometimes), and I found one that was like, “Oh! This is great! Just like gluten-full flour! Yada yada yada…” All that crap.
AND I FELL FOR IT!
So, I measured out the flour and dumped it in a mound on my clean, granite counter tops. I made a hole in the mound and cracked a couple of eggs into it. I added an extra yolk (the recipe insisted on it!). I sprinkled a little salt. Added the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and got to whisking with my fork. When I couldn’t whisk anymore, I scraped off what was stuck to my fork and I dove right in with my hands, trying to form some sort of dough ball that was just never coming together.
I didn’t know what was going on.
I checked, re-checked, and triple checked the recipe and double checked my measurements.
Everything was right.
Maybe I just needed to squish it together into a really tight ball and wrap it in saran wrap and let it chill out for a half hour in the refrigerator?
That’s exactly what I did.
After the 30 minutes were up, I grabbed the ball from the fridge and tried to roll it out.
SUCH A MISERABLE FAIL!!!
I pulled the ball out of the saran wrap and pressed down on it to create a disk and it just crumbled back into a mound of sand. That’s what it was. It was just sand. There was literally a zero percent change for this stuff to become pasta. I started to freak out because I was no pasta master. I didn’t know how to save it. I was worried I had lost everything from that first batch because I had worked it too much. My hands were all up in that sand hill, just trying to create something that resembled a solid ball of dough.
But it didn’t happen.
When I calmed down enough, I realized it just needed moisture. Dough tends to need that. So, I added 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, because why not? Then I remembered I had that extra egg white just sitting around because the poster of the original recipe said that that 1 extra yolk was super important, but the white wasn’t, so I just added the leftover white to the mound too. After playing around with whatever I was playing around with some more, it finally came together.
So it wasn’t 2 1/2 eggs, it was 3, and it wasn’t 2 tablespoons of olive oil, it was 4.
Thanks original poster.
Anyways, being the frustrated mess I was, I couldn’t wait for it to chill in the fridge again so I started rolling it out right then and there, creating somewhat of a fettuccine for my first pasta.
I will say, the dough was still a little dry and cracked easily, so it’s not a perfect recipe. Definitely not pasta roller worthy. It would fall apart if run through one. I’m going to tweak it some more to hopefully make a dough strong enough to roll out thinly without worrying about tears. My final recipe will probably have just one more egg yolk.
After making bunch of fettuccine, I eventually thought about testing a few strips… You know, just to make sure the dough actually worked. So I grabbed a small pot, put some water to boil and dropped some noodles into it. I was really excited. I hadn’t made pasta in so long, it felt like I was making it for the first time again.
The noodles actually held!
I did it!
I made it!
Now, I had to taste test them to make sure they were good. I couldn’t wait, so I grabbed a fork and ate one. I learned a few things.
- ALWAYS salt pasta water, no matter what kind of pasta you’re making. That shit’s nasty otherwise.
- Thinner noodles.
- MUCH thinner noodles. They expand way too much and become un-deliciously thick.
I don’t know what it was, but the wide noodles weren’t working for me, so I made the executive decision to go back through my already cut noodles and make them smaller… Or at least try to. I was already fed up with everything by then, but I knew that trying to make spaghetti would be worth the trouble.
So, it took me about another 30 minutes to cut it all down to size by hand.
Overall, from start to finish, this whole process took me just over 3 hours… and I hated almost every moment of it. It really started to go downhill when I had nothing but a mound of cassava sand on my counter, but when I finally finished cutting each noodle down to size, I had felt so accomplished, I started to cry.
This felt better than any A I got in school. Better than any volunteer work I did. Better than that one time I did, I did… I don’t know what, but it was better than that!
I felt so accomplished.
But I know I won’t be a pasta-making master anytime soon. That mac & cheese will just have to wait. Until then, I’m good with just spaghetti. It’s something I can do and doesn’t require any special tools. Just a strong will and the determination of a woman who is craving pasta.
Which I think I have.