Monday, February 6, 2012

Sourdough Pasta

There are things that I really love about this new online world. What started as a hobby for me, this whole food blogging thing, has introduced me to some really amazing ideas, foods and, yes, people. I love how much I have learned, and I value the friendships that I am making in the process.

While chatting online with one of my new and wonderful friends, Jenni from The Gingered Whisk, we wound up talking about our sourdough starters. Yes, we are food nerds. And darn proud of it. Anyway, she sent me a link for the next sourdough recipe she wanted to try. Pasta. I think I said something along the lines of "Wow! I want to make that too!" or, you know, something equally eloquent... So we decided we'd both try it. On the same day. And report our findings to one another.

So on the decided-upon day, I set to work. Technically, you are supposed to prepare the dough the night before. But you are also supposed to use starter that has been fed recently. So I fed my starter before bed and prepared my dough first thing in the morning. Close enough, right?

The recipe calls for a mere quarter cup of starter.

Which is then mixed with a single egg yolk.

This mixture is then kneaded together with flour to create, well, dough! I used my stand mixer to do the kneading.

And, by the time the kiddos and I sat down to breakfast, my dough was resting.

Later that afternoon, after a good seven or eight hours of rest for the dough (that is as good as overnight, right?), it was time to get to rolling. Little miss requested noodles, as opposed to filled pasta, and that actually went better with what we'd planned for dinner that night, so that's what we made.

Using plenty of flour, I rolled out the dough.

The dough rolled out beautifully. The rolled out dough was then rolled up, and I used my fancy cutting tool to cut strips of pasta.

Okay, it's the pizza cutter. But it works really well for this, too.

The recipe calls for the noodles to dry for at least 30 minutes. I wasn't exactly sure where I could "hang" the noodles, so I kind of improvised. I have a three-tiered cooling rack system, so I set the whole thing up and hung the pasta from the top tier.

Not too shabby! After a half hour break, the pasta was boiled (it cooked super fast - just a couple of minutes in the boiling water), and we were ready for dinner. It was served with just a little bit of butter, some garlic sea salt, and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

Delicious. Little miss asked me if I could make it every night. I'd say that's a thumbs up!

While I didn't agree to make it every night, I did want to give it another try, as I really wanted to try filled pasta using this dough, as well. So a week later, I gave it another shot.

I had already planned to make a soup that called for tortellini. It's like it was meant to be or something.

And this time I made the dough the night before. Because I was a bit more on the ball with the feeding schedule for my starter. And I'd planned a little better.

I chose to make a simple ricotta filling - ricotta, beaten egg and some spices. Garlic powder and Italian seasonings, in this case.

And once again it was time to roll out my dough. It rolled out just as nicely, this time, but the cutting procedure was much more labor intensive. Rather than strips, to make tortellini, I needed rounds. I used a small juice glass as my cutter and set to work.

Once cut, I used an improvised piping bag (zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped. Works like a charm) to add the filling.

Once the filling was on each circle, it was time to shape the tortellini. I don't have any pictures because this was kind of a messy process, but I'll do my best to describe how I shaped them. I folded the circle in half, over the filling, wetting the dough a little bit to seal that seam. This creates a half-circle of filled dough. I then folded (rolled?) both corners of the half circle in to the middle, and pinched them together to create a seal there. Does that make any sense? You wind up with little pillows that look like this:

Leaving these guys to dry was a trickier process than the regular pasta. The filling keeps the pasta wet, and thus keeps the dough a little sticky, despite all that flour I sprinkled on the plate. After a half hour or so, I flipped them to try to let them dry on the other sides. Great idea in theory, but many of my tortellini lost their shape in the process. Oh well. Nicely shaped or not, they boiled up beautifully.

And they tasted pretty good, too. I thought that the sourdough flavor was more pronounced with these than with the noodles. I am not sure if that is because the dough rested longer (overnight) or whether the addition of the filling highlighted the flavor a bit, but they were definitely fun.

I'll post about the soup for which these were made later this week.

What I learned is that I need a lot of practice rolling, cutting and shaping pasta. And that it is extra fun to have a virtual cooking party with someone in another state.

Go check out Jenni's sourdough pasta and let her know what you think! I can't wait to see what we'll cook together next.

Sourdough Pasta

80 grams (about 1/4 cup) sourdough starter
60 grams flour (about 1/2 cup) (I used all purpose, you can use any combination of flours you want)
1 large egg yolk (though I did wind up needing to add in some of the white, too, so you might want to be prepared to do so...)

Mix together the starter and egg yolk.
Sift the flour, then make a well in the middle. Pour the starter/yolk mixture into the well and slowly mix it together.
Knead into a ball. Continue kneading the dough until it feels smooth and springy. I needed to add in some of my egg white here to make my dough soft enough. It could be because I was measuring by volume rather than by weight.
Once you have a smooth, springy ball of dough, allow it to rest, covered, overnight.
On a well floured surface, roll your dough as thinly as you can (and is still workable) and cut the pasta to the desired shape.
Leave to dry for half an hour before boiling.
You can sprinkle the fresh pasta with flour and freeze it in a tightly sealed container or bag if you do not plan on cooking it right away.



  1. wow, I am super impressed with this!

  2. Your pasta looks magnificent, especially the tortellini!! Great job!! Wish I had been there to sample it all! :)

  3. Wow, I've never had sourdough pasta - looks amazing! Thanks for linking up at my pasta blog hop! Pinned :-)


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