With the farm crew on vacation, we don’t get our weekly CSA share of produce. At first, that’s not so bad; we just eat what we have in the house in a creative way– today’s recipe is an example. In fact, this is part of what we had for our Christmas Eve dinner. Today, we’ll show you how to make the pasta dough, and, next week, we’ll present a simple pasta dish that’s good enough to serve for a holiday dinner. At least, we think so.
It’s really easy make variations on pasta dough; you simply use some other ingredient in place of the liquid or in place of the flour. If the ingredient you’re adding is moist, simply reduce the amount of liquid. If the ingredient is dry, reduce the flour. With that in mind, you can make almost any flavor pasta you might imagine. In our case, we had sweet potatoes in the house, so Sweet Potato Pasta Dough was a natural.
We used half Sonora White wheat flour and half all-purpose. You can use just about any kind of flour, and you can even buy special pasta flours (we’re tempted by them), but we don’t see why. For the egg, try to use eggs from hens that you know are treated well. We normally get ours through the CSA, but, with it closed for a couple of weeks, we had to make due with ordinary eggs. Yes, we can tell the difference.
Procedure in detail:
Cook sweet potato. Place the pieces of sweet potato in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the sweet potato is very tender, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Drain completely — we just spear the few pieces with a fork and lift them out.
Mash. Transfer the sweet potato to a medium-sized bowl and use a fork to mash until mostly smooth. You’ll be working these for a while, so it won’t matter too much if they’re not mashed completely, just as long as they’re nice and soft.
Add flour and egg. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir to combine as best you can. It’ll be lumpy, but that’s fine. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Use a fork or your finger to break up the egg and swirl it around slowly to incorporate the flour mixture. Continue until you have a soft, non-sticky, but shaggy dough. If necessary, you can adjust the amount of flour and add a bit of water depending on whether your dough is too wet (sticky) or too dry (crumbly and won’t come together).
Knead. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. You can adjust the amount of water and flour as your work. If the dough is hard to knead, dip it into a bit of water and work it in. Continue dipping and kneading until the dough is softer, but not sticky. If the dough is sticky, dip it into flour, or sprinkle a bit of flour on your work surface and continue kneading. Repeat as necessary.
Rest. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flour to hydrate and gives the gluten a chance to relax so the dough will be easier to roll. If you’re busy and want to let the dough rest longer, you can; simply place it in the refrigerator and take it out about 30 minutes before rolling and shaping.
Shape. We simply rolled our out dough and cut it diagonally to make slightly longer, wide, flat noodles, but you can find a whole variety of shapes you can make by clicking right here.
As with all homemade pasta dough, it’s easy to make and it always tastes great. This had a very mild sweet potato taste, and, in our dish, which also used sweet potatoes, it might not be noticed, but we still think it was worth the effort. Five stars.