Artisanal pasta is one of the newest artisanal trends, and we’re really excited about it!
Often, fresh pasta is made with egg and flour, while mass-produced pasta uses mostly flour and water.
What if we approached artisanal pasta with an eye on veganism, and avoided egg?
Why Does Fresh Pasta Use Egg?
Eggs have been used in fresh pasta for an awfully long time now, and it is the traditional way in a lot of Italian recipes.
In our research and testing, we’ve found that there are three big reasons why people might choose to use eggs in their pasta.
The eggs provide liquid in the recipe.
The yolk has an inherent fat content. (enrichment)
The unique texture from eggs.
Liquid From Eggs
This is a bit of an obvious one - you need some form of liquid when making pasta.
Eggs are a great source of this liquid, as they are thin enough to hydrate the flour effectively while being thick enough to control through kneading.
Moisture in the pasta dough allows for gluten to form through kneading, which is what gives pasta texture.
Fat In The Yolk
Yolks have a relatively high-fat content, and this fat serves to enrich the pasta dough.
In turn, the end result is a richer, creamier pasta ideal for a number of dishes. This is a matter of taste, of course, though we love it!
Eggs cook quite unlike any other ingredients that come to mind - and there are so many ways to cook them!
This uniqueness allows for egg pasta to be very delicate and light, while eggless pasta can be chewier.
Making Vegan Fresh Pasta
As when making any pasta, there are three steps - the dough-making, the shaping, and the drying. The only difference here is that we won’t be using eggs.
There are a huge number of recipes out there for eggless pasta, and some include olive oil while others don’t. You can get a great result either way, though we prefer to use olive oil in this case.
Making The Dough
To begin making the dough, we’d recommend you use your hands. That’s the way it’s been done in artisanal circles for a long time, and there’s no sense changing that.
If this is your first time, consider using a bowl. If not, you’ll surely be well practiced with using the countertop.
Place three cups of flour onto the work surface. We’d recommend a blend of semolina flour and all-purpose flour to achieve the ideal texture.
Make a well in the center of your flour, and add in roughly a cup of water.
Gently mix everything together, and begin to knead.
Knead until the pasta forms a smooth ball with a taut surface, and provides some resistance when kneaded.
Shaping The Pasta
You can either use a rolling pin or a pasta maker to make the pasta sheets - either is good.
Roll out your pasta dough until it is at your desired thickness. We’d recommend trying out thicker, more rustic pasta that’s approximately an eighth of an inch thick.
When your dough is flat, simply cut it into ribbons. For tagliatelle, aim for roughly a centimeter across. For fettuccine, just a trifle narrower maybe (and a bit thinner as well).
See here on our website a selection of artisan fettucine that we make ourselves, so you can better understand the dimensions.
Drying The Pasta
You can cook this pasta fresh, or you can allow it to dry for use later.
The best way to artisanally dry pasta is to allow it to take place over the course of several days.
If you’d like to read more about the differences between egg pasta and eggless pasta, this Wikipedia page has some really interesting information.