I didn’t believe it, but it’s true. You can make pasta without eggs. I know because I’ve just made some. And , as it says in one of my favourite vegan cookery books Crossroads, it is impossible to tell the difference!
The incentive, I have to admit, was anticipating the virgin outing for my Kenwood pasta rolling attachment.
Put 300g of 00 grade flour, 300g semolina flour, half a teaspoon of salt, into your food processor and mix thoroughly. Then add 175g of firm tofu (drained) – mine came fresh from Tofurei in Norwich, two tablespoons of olive oil and three tablespoons of cold water. Pulse in the food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs then turn the processor on full till it combines into what looks like a ball of pastry. Mine didn’t combine that well, but as I was using fresh tofu from Tofurei, which wasn’t very wet, I added another tablespoon of oil and another of water. Then I tipped it out onto a floured surface and gave it a good knead.
Now, I am by no means an expert pasta maker. In fact this is only my second attempt. But I am told that for pasta, it is all in the ‘feel’. And it felt OK – so I wrapped it in cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour to rest. What this does is, combined with the kneading you did earlier, the gluten in the wheat will become more elastic and gives the pasta its ‘stretch’. I have to say I felt a little uncertain, and still wondered whether it was slightly too dry.
However an hour later I was relieved to find, when I removed it from the fridge, that it had ‘relaxed’. Unlike its maker! I cut the dough in half, wrapping the second half in clingfilm and returning to the fridge. Then I cut the other half in half again and covered its twin with a damp cloth. Then I fed the first quarter through the pasta machine as per the instruction manual – and with more than a little help from David. I have to admit that got a bit excitable as it turned from a very slightly crumbly dough into a silken smooth sheet after nine turns through the roller! Sadly – being Norfolk – our idiosyncratic wifi is failing to load the videos, so at some point I will tag onto someone’s super high speed wifi in Norwich. Until then………
Being a bit tight, I didn’t purchase the Kenwood pasta cutter, so I laid the strips out on a table and cut them by hand and then hung them on the back of the kitchen chair (see impending video). It was a hugely satisfying and rewarding hour in the kitchen.
I made a simple tomato sauce laced with chopped capers and then set to making the vegan ‘parmesan’ recipe, also in Crossroads. Simply, using a very sharp knife, shave slivers of walnuts into a bowl and mix with a little chopped fresh rosemary, a little sea salt flakes and some nutritional yeast flakes to give it that umami edge.
The pasta takes no more than two minutes to cook in boiling salted water. Drain. Put 25ml olive oil in the bottom of the pan, add one chopped garlic clove and a good grind of black pepper, then return he pasta to the pan (now off the heat) and swirl in the garlicky oil.
If you don’t have a pasta maker, you can roll out the pasta by hand, folding it in half width ways and length ways as you go. it’s easier to work on a quarter of the dough at a time, and use lots of flour whilst you are rolling.