Using Your Noodle

Whole-grain pasta is now available everywhere, and you can use it anywhere you used to use white-flour pasta, giving all the advantages of whole grain over white flour. Whole-grain pasta is high in B-vitamins, Vitamin E, protein & fiber. It is a complex carbohydrate yet easy to digest. And of course it tastes great & kids LOVE it, too. Pasta comes in an endless array of shapes and sizes with names like fusilli, somen, rigatoni, udon and garafano.

Durum wheat is as good for pasta as hard red wheat is good for bread. The color of the noodles is usually a light brown; add a little beet or spinach and you get earthy red and green shades. This makes tasty spaghetti and lasagna, and the ribbon noodles are excellent. It usually needs slightly longer cooking than its paler counterparts. Whole-grain durum noodles keep their shape well, and they are tender and mellow in taste. Semolina is refined durum wheat. It makes noodles that are a pale creamy-golden color. In addition to ready-made durum wheat pastas (and other whole grain pastas) we now carry bulk organic durum wheat flour for fresh, do-it-yourself pasta.

Pasta-making is a fun and easy art to master. Fresh homemade noodles are as much better than the store-bought kind, as your own bread is better than store-bought bread. If you are content with simple ribbon noodles, you need no more equipment than a rolling pin, a knife, and a table (and that's a good place to start). There are pasta-making machines, plain or fancy ones, and if you hanker for exotic varieties or like to serve noodles often, they are a bargain.

So roll up your sleeves, flour up the counter and enjoy this nutritious culinary treat.

How to cook it:
* Pasta is a complex carbohydrate that also supplies six of the eight essential amino acids.
* Eating pasta releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that tells you you are feeling relaxed.
* There are over 600 different pasta shapes with new ones constantly being created.

Homemade Noodles
Mix 1 1/2 cups durum or whole wheat flour & 1 tsp. salt in a bowl or on the tabletop, making a mound with a well in the center. Put 2 Tbs. water & 2 eggs or 3/4 cups medium hot water in the well. Beginning in the center, mix liquid with flour to make a stiff dough-stiffer than bread dough. If it is too soft, you'll have trouble rolling it out, moving it around, and drying. If it is too stiff, rolling is more difficult than desired. Durum flour takes less liquid than regular w.w. flour.

Knead the dough until it is supple, about 10 minutes. Large batches take more time. For easier rolling, cover the ball of dough after kneading and let it rest for about an hour. Use your rolling pin (if you don't have a machine) to roll the dough thin. If you are making more than just a small amount, keep the part of the dough you are not actually working on covered so it doesn't dry out. Use as much flour on the board (or with the machine) as you need to keep the dough from sticking - no harm done by that. In fact, as you come to the finishing stages, keep the noodles floury; they won't be likely to stick together. To make green pasta simply steam some spinach, collard or beet greens, squeeze out as much moisture as possible, chop finely and knead into the dough.

Cut into ribbons or whatever shape suits your recipe-a pizza cutter is better than a knife here.

Cook at once, or let them rest a couple of hours; or dry thoroughly on cookie sheets, after which they will keep for weeks if stored in an airtight container kept in a cool place. Fresh is best of all, though.
Makes approximately 4 cups cooked noodles.

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This page built by Ray Neff andDavid ResSeguie Last update: May 30, 1996