This chestnut pasta is a wonderfully tasty homemade pasta with a gently sweet, nutty flavor. It's easy to make and cooks up in no time. It pairs perfectly with simple sauces for comfort food deliciousness.
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I'll admit, once I had a nice new bag of chestnut flour, I found myself looking at a whole range of ideas to use it. It has a wonderful flavor, but as I've mentioned before, it doesn't work with everything. What I have found, though, is that you often get the best out of this flour's flavor when you blend it with something else. And it certainly works here.
Chestnut flour in pastas
Chestnut flour is a common ingredient in the North of Italy where it is often called "farina dolce" (sweet flour). In some areas, it was more widely used than wheat flour for a long time as wheat was more expensive. You will find it in a range of traditional dishes including pancakes, gnocchi and pasta.
There is a traditional all-chestnut flour pasta called "lasagne bastarde" (the name coming from the irregular shape of the pieces). But it can be a little trickier to handle as the chestnut flour on its own can lead to a crumbly dough. Also, the flavor is stronger, which some can find too much.
This pasta uses half regular wheat flour and half chestnut flour and the result is the best of both. It's relatively easy to handle, but has that gently nutty, slightly sweet flavor from the chestnut without being overpowering.
Tips for making this pasta
A general rule of thumb for homemade pasta is 100g of flour to 1 large egg, and a little oil and pinch of salt. That's also true here, you just switch half the flour for the chestnut flour. One eggs worth gives a relatively large portion for one person, so it's easy to multiply this up for more or less people.
For most pasta doughs, you want to leave it to rest for a few minutes before rolling. That's still a good idea here but I don't find you need all that much time for this dough. I recommend you only roll about 1 eggs-worth of dough at a time to save having too large a piece and it drying out. Keep the rest of the dough under a cloth or cling wrap/film.
You can either roll this by hand or with a pasta machine, as suits you and depending what you have. Especially if rolling by hand, just make sure you roll it as thin as you can, then probably a little more, as it does expand when it cooks.
When rolling by hand, I find that it can help to cut from the edges of the piece of rolled pasta dough then roll the middle piece again, as you will probably find the middle was a little thicker. If nothing else, it helps at least part of it be thinner.
You can make different shapes as you prefer, but I think tagliatelle-style is probably the easiest and works well.
Top tip: add flour if sticky, but not too much
Pasta dough should be soft but not sticky, so if you need to, add a little flour as you roll it out to stop it sticking. However, you don't want to add too much as this means the dough can become too dry. If too dry, it is more likely to crack and break.
When you are ready to cook, you simply drop pieces of the pasta into a wide pot of boiling water. Try to separate them as you drop pieces in (so just a few at a time) to save them sticking and clumping together.
How to serve chestnut pasta
Since the pasta has a relatively delicate flavor that you want to appreciate, it's worth keeping the dressing here pretty simple. We really like it with some walnut sauce which pairs well.
You could also simply use browned butter, olive oil (maybe infused with garlic and/or rosemary) or a cream sauce. You don't really need much more, if anything, added in with it, but if you want to make a slightly fuller or more varied meal, something like some roasted broccolini or mushrooms might be a good fit.
Chestnut pasta is made very much like regular homemade pasta, but that switching of some of the flour really makes a difference. Not only is the color gently brown, the flavor is slightly sweet and nutty. Served with a simple sauce, it's a whole bowl of deliciousness.
Try these other homemade pastas:
- Fresh spinach pasta ( a lovely green color thanks to spinach in the dough)
- Lobster ravioli (a deliciously indulgent filled pasta)
- Pumpkin pasta (this is pasta with pumpkin in the dough rather than a pumpkin sauce - giving a lovely flavor to the pasta)
- Plus get more Italian recipes in the archives.
- 100 g chestnut flour
- 100 g all purpose flour plain flour, or 00 flour
- 2 egg large
- 1 pinch salt
- 7.5 ml olive oil approx
- Mix together the flours, eggs and salt either with a fork so you break up the egg as you mix, or using a food processor. Add the olive oil then if mixing by hand, bring the dough together into a ball with your hands.
- Turn the dough out onto a board or clean surface and knead gently, bringing the dough together. If the dough doesn't come together then add a little drop more oil, but this is a relatively dry dough, and does get softer as the flours take in the egg more. Once together as a ball, cover and set aside for a few minutes (around 10 minutes should be enough).
- Take around half of the dough (or 1 eggs-worth if making more/less) to roll and cover the rest with a damp cloth or cling wrap/film. Roll out the dough into a sheet, gently flouring both sides and turning regularly if rolling by hand. If using a pasta machine, alternate rolling in two directions as you go from widest setting to thinner. In both cases, you want to roll it about as thin as you can without it breaking (remember it will swell a little when cooked).
- If rolling by hand, trim the edge from the piece of pasta then cut into thin slices. If using pasta roller, use the linguini-style blades to slice. Separate out the pasta pieces and place in bundles as you repeat with the rest.
- Bring a wide pot of water to a rolling boil. Add some of the pasta, separating out the pieces to avoid clumping and only adding a few at a time. If needed, increase the heat slightly to bring back to a simmer. The pasta will rise to the surface after around a minute or two. Let it cook around 30 seconds longer then remove, straining as you go, from the pot. Set aside in a bowl to keep warm as you cook further batches.
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