I tried this recipe from the Minimalist Baker. I was intrigued by this recipe because it uses just almond flour, tapioca starch, sea salt and eggs to make fresh pasta from scratch! And her pictures look pretty amazing! It’s high protein, grain free, gluten free, uses a short list of ingredients, looks similar to the real deal, what’s not to love?! Bonus point: according to her calculations, this would be cheaper than store-bought grain-free pasta!
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So I gave this a try and here’s my honest review:
Making the Dough
The ingredients are pretty easy-to-find. I used the Kirkland Super Fine Almond Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour (aka. Tapioca Starch), sea salt, and eggs. I think the key is to use super fine blanched almond flour so the mouthfeel can be less “grainy”.
The dough was easy to come together and took no time! The colour and smoothness was also quite similar to a regular pasta dough. However, it was less springy and elastic than regular pasta as expected. After all, it doesn’t have any gluten. The dough texture is somewhat like a pie dough, although less crumbly and held together pretty nicely.
Shaping the Dough
Unfortunately, the dough was not elastic or pliable enough (due to the lack of gluten) to run through the pasta maker – the sheet broke to about 4 inches segments even at the thickest setting in my pasta maker. So I had to do it the old-fashion way – rolling out the dough by hand as thin as possible and cut with a knife! Even when I tried to fold and cut in layers, the crease would break. So the easiest way is to roll out the dough on a large sheet of parchment paper and cut with a pizza cutter or knife in a single layer (you can then slide all the pasta into boiling water to cook them).
Cooking the Pasta
I cooked the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water just like how I would treat regular pasta. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how close the texture is compared to regular pasta! It has a nice chew and neutral flavour (I was worried that it will taste like almond!). I rolled them pretty thin but they did swell a little bjust like regular pasta would.
After that, I heat up a few spoonful of my homemade Puttanesca sauce and Parsley Pecan Pesto in two separate sauté pans and add the par-boiled pasta. Unfortunately, the pasta broke even more as I gently toss the sauce into the pasta.
However, the flavours and textures were pretty good! If only they didn’t break as much…
Overall, this was a fun recipe to try and easy to put together. I’m happy with the flavour and texture of this grain-free pasta, but the dough consistency needs improvement. That said, it’s amazing how versatile almond flour is and how many grain-free/ gluten-free options there are!
Without adjusting the recipe, this dough may be good for lasagna as it can be rolled out into a thin sheet without breaking. However, in order to make the dough more pliable and minimize the breaking, I may try adding more egg whites next time, or some xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder should help as they’re very sticky and can act like “glue”!
Time for more experiments!