By Chef Linda
Pasta dough is one of those things that make you wonder why you don't make it fresh every time. Truly, this is a simple, simple recipe and vegan, to boot! Apparently, in the northern part of Italy, eggs and very fine flour are used in making fresh dough. In the south, semolina flour is used and eggs are not. This can be made using a food processor or in a bowl with your hands. And don't worry about the kneading; It's not messy, in fact, it's very relaxing and only takes a few minutes. In a recent Compassionate Cuisine Italian cooking class, we used a pasta machine to make thin sheets of spinach-speckled ravioli dough. There are all kinds of pasta machines, but we used a hand crank model that I purchased for about $30. It's virtually indestructible and practically foolproof. Our fearless leader at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Kathy Stevens, who admittedly becomes slightly less confident in the kitchen, was amazed to see how simple the whole process was – from making the dough to eating the gorgeous and scrumptious Butternut Squash Ravioli. If you don't have or don't want to purchase a pasta machine, roll the dough on your countertop and cut rustic ribbons or ravioli by hand. Handmade pasta has a rustic charm of its own so don't be afraid to try.
Vegan Pasta Dough
1 3/4 cups semolina flour
1/4 cup “00” flour or all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 1/2 cup water
Small handful, about 1/4 cup chopped, fresh tender-leafed herbs (sage, tarragon, basil), optional
Put flours and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add in the fresh herbs and pulse till herbs are small flecks mixed in with flour. With motor running, drizzle in oil and then the water. Continue to process for another minute or so. When the flour clumps together, it’s ready. Pinch and press dough together with your fingers, it should stick together, but not be wet.
Remove dough from processor and knead for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth. It should not be sticky when you’re done.
Let dough rest for at least 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic, then roll into desired thickness and shapes or pass through pasta machine. If you’re using a pasta machine, like the one pictured in the main large photo at the top of the page, cut your dough into pieces and roll so that it’s a few inches wide, wide enough to pass through the pasta machine.