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
How to cook it:
- 4 quarts of water for every pound of pasta.
- Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to salt or oil the water
- an occasional stir will keep it from sticking.
- Add the pasta slowly when the water is at a rolling boil.
- Cover until it boils again.
- Cook uncovered for a few more minutes. Pasta is done when it is cooked
through but still firm when bitten. Fresh pasta cooks quickest, 1-2 minutes.
- When done, drain and stir in a little olive oil or sauce to keep it
from sticking. Do not rinse. Pasta actually keeps cooking after it is drained-
as long as it is still hot.
- Top your pasta with olive oil & Parmesan, pesto or a sauce from
local culinary artisans from Rising Moon or Emerald Valley Kitchens and
serve hot. Don't oversauce this fresh treat.
* Pasta is a complex carbohydrate that also supplies six of the eight essential
* 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
- 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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ResSeguie Last update: May 30, 1996