I have been making pasta from scratch for over 20 years. I like trying different flours and methods and recently found some chestnut flour at Abundant Life. I used to be able to find chestnut flour when I lived in Chicago, and rarely when we lived in the bay area, so I was really surprised to find it here... and on sale no less! I suppose we can thank Abundant Life's new section of Gluten Free Products for some cool finds and this is one of them. If you are doing this gluten free, use 100% chestnut flour, but your pasta will be a little more difficult to handle than if you do a 50/50 blend using all-purpose flour. Imported farina de castagne (flour of chestnut) is widely available in specialty markets and on a variety of web sites.
Here is the method and a simple recipe for the Butter, sage, rosemary and walnut sauce I used for the pasta.
*note, this pasta, like all pastas can be made by hand, but it is one that works very well with the food processor method.
- Dry: 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup chestnut flour
- Wet: 2 large whole eggs, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons water
- Fit the regular steel cutting blade in the bowl of a food processor
- Measure the flours into the bowl
- Process for a few seconds to aerate
- Drop the eggs into a spouted measuring cup & beat briefly with a fork to break up.
- Mix in the measured amounts of oil and water. To minimize the chance of overheating, use cold eggs and water.
- Start the machine running with the feed tube open. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl and quickly scrape out any remaining eggs out of the cup.
- Let the machine run for about 30 seconds. A dough should form quickly; most of it should clump or ball up on the blade. some may spread on the sides of the bowl where it will twist and knead. Let the machine knead the dough for about 10 seconds (no more than 50 seconds total processsing.)
- Turn the dough on to a floured board and lightly knead another 30 seconds or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap and rest the dough in plastic wrap. It can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but should be allowed to come to room temp before rolling.
Rolling the pasta:
I often use a simple rolling pin to make pasta and have a variety of ways to cut and shape it, but for beginners it is probably best to use a pasta rolling machine to get the dough into thin, smooth sheets. If doing this method, divide the dough into workable sheets and then starting with the widest setting, run your dough through the rollers reducing the size of the setting until you end up on the narrowest setting. Allow these sheets to rest on a floured surface, covered by towels.
Cutting the pasta:
There are a variety of ways to cut the pasta, the simplest being using a knife or pizza cutters to cut it into narrow strips. I used the linguine cutter on my pasta roller for this particular pasta, but I often use a chitarra, or Pasta Guitar for cutting narrow pastas. These devices are not expensive, but here are directions about how to make your own Chitarrra .
Once the pasta is cut, it needs to dry a bit before cooking. You can use a rack or just toss with some flour and make small piles of the noodles. These nests work especially well if you want to freeze your pasta.
Cooking the pasta:
For 1 # of fresh pasta bring 6 quarts of water to boil stir in 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Before adding the pasta to the water, shake off excess flour. drop the pasta into the pot in several batches, stirring with each addition so the pasta does not stick.
Return the water to a boil until the pasta rises to the top, sample the pasta and if it is tender then remove and strain, Drop with clinging water into the sauce and toss.
Butter, Sage, Rosemary Walnut Sauce
1 stick butter
10 fresh sage leaves
1 stick of rosemary , needles pulled off
1 cup of chopped walnuts (or chestnuts if you can find them)
1 Cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggianao
Melt the butter in a skillet large enough to hold pasta. Scatter the sage leaves and rosemary needles around the pan. When the butter begins to sizzle add the walnuts in a hot spot. Toast them until light brown. Ladle in 1 cup of the pasta water and simmer for about 3 minutes for the flavors to blend and allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Finish sauce with cooked pasta, tossing and cooking together over low heat. Remove from heat and add cheese, tossing. Serve with crushed red pepper and freshly grated black pepper.