Back in August, I fortuitously met Phi of Princess Tofu at a Bay Area food blogger's picnic on the very same day I'd decided to make a pot of silken oboro tofu at home without a recipe (more on that to come). I selfishly prodded with questions of tofu-making, while scarfing down the gluten-free corn cakes Phi brought to the potluck. She told me about the eternity she spent grinding the recipe's split pea flour by hand, and the unfortunate fate of her broken hand grinder to boot. This somehow meant the cakes were made with extra love and were decidedly more delicious.
With the promise of recipes, I followed her to her loft where she pulled out one cookbook after another, raving about the merits of each, but resting on Naturally Ella's The Homemade Flour Cookbook, where the aforementioned corn cakes recipe came from. With a flood of inspiration, we made plans to spend an entire Sunday grinding flour with my KitchenAid grain mill attachment - a more efficient (yet disturbingly louder) method than the hand-grinder.
With a week's worth of e-mail chains looping Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet in on the flour fest, we settled on making homemade chickpea flour ravioli with mushrooms and thyme. But first, a trip to the Berkeley Bowl to load up on anything we could possibly imagine sending through the grain mill - chickpeas, red lentils, black wild rice, mung beans, brown sweet rice, buckwheat, and pumpkin seeds. That last one actually went through the blender for fear it'd turn to butter in the mill.
My weekly grocery haul always includes at least 2 stores, but usually 3 to 5. So we stopped off at the Monterey Market, Country Cheese Coffee Market for 'shrooms, cheese, and more than a week's worth of other produce we somehow planned to eat over the course of the day. One cooking task is not enough. Then a last-minute visit to 99 Ranch for red bean paste, where despite intentionally leaving her wallet in the car to show restraint, Phi still managed to grab a few more ingredients to spice up the lunchtime pad see ew feast she threw together.
The three of us spent the next 11 hours in the kitchen with the hum of the grain mill in the background, bonding over a common interest in food, rare ingredients, photography, light, and our ginger cat band debut, while we covered every surface in my kitchen with a thin film of homemade flour. Watching the two of them fully absorbed in culinary experimentation motivates me to be bolder in my cooking, to constantly push to try new things, and to not be afraid if it doesn't work the first time.
Our research on chickpea pasta - combined with my earlier failed attempt at silky smooth strands of gluten-free quinoa flour pasta - told us the dough might turn out too delicate to easily send through the pasta roller. So we added a wee bit of tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and xanthan gum to infuse that doughy elasticity into our gluten-less pasta, and decided to stay on the safe side by making fussless ravioli.
The curiosity of three food bloggers in a kitchen can't be quelled though, so we fed the last sheet through the pappardelle cutter attachment to see what would happen.
And it worked magnificently. This dough is not the delicate lifeless quinoa pasta I'd tried my hand at before. It's malleable and holds together beautifully as it stretches into smooth sheets of fresh pasta.
After an unexpected return to the market to exchange the first batch of not-so-hot mushrooms for these aromatic chanterelles, we lost our prime photography light. With this too good not to share recipe, Alanna returned Tuesday evening for take two of Sunday's pasta dish, but this time with long strands of homemade chickpea pappardelle.
With our leisurely cooking and chatting, we chased the early setting autumn daylight. Until - according to my camera's clock - Lucas walked in to the pitch black dining room at 6:46pm to find me standing on a chair with a tripod over the finished dish while Alanna held a forkful of pasta, "are you guys taking pictures in the dark?" Heck ya - that's dedication. These photos use natural light, baby.
Natural moon light. (As shown in the second to last set of photos in this post).
Fortunately Alanna took the last bit of fresh pasta home to recreate the dish for dinner again the next day, capturing the final bowl of pappardelle studded with golden chanterelles with her stunning photography.
The thing that sets traditional homemade pasta apart from rehydrated store-bought pasta is the flavor. The store-bought stuff is bland and works only as a blank canvas, while homemade pasta brings much more to the table. Before switching to a gluten-free diet, we ate homemade pasta at least once a week in our house, but without a suitable substitute after my frustrating crumbly quinoa pasta attempt, the pasta maker attachments have sadly been packed up in a box for over a year.
This gluten-free chickpea pasta holds the same quality as traditional homemade pasta with a strong hearty flour as its base. Unlike many gluten-free pastas that rely heavily on starches, the chickpea pasta offers a notable but not overpowering element worthy of mention in its own. Eat it tossed with browned butter and parmesan cheese if you like, but I urge you to head over to The Bojon Gourmet to get the recipe for this simple and elegant fresh chickpea pappardelle with buttered chanterelles, thyme, and wine.
- 2-¾ cups (300g) sifted chickpea flour*
- ¼ cup (35g) tapioca starch
- ¼ cup (33g) sweet rice flour (also called mochiko - different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Water, as needed
- Millet flour, for rolling out (or more chickpea flour)
- Whisk the chickpea flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and xanthan gum into a large bowl.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into the middle. Add the olive oil and salt.
- Use a fork to lightly whisk the eggs together in the middle of the well, then begin mixing it all together with the flour.
- Once it's well mixed, use your hands to knead until it forms a dough. If the the mixture feels too dry, add ½ teaspoon of water at a time while kneading. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, but not very sticky. If you find it too sticky, add another teaspoon of chickpea flour until it reaches the desired texture.
- Roll the dough into a ball and lightly flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Bring 3-quarts of water to boil in a large pot with a teaspoon of salt and a splash of olive oil.
- After letting the dough rest, cut dough into 6 equal pieces.
- Use your hands to press one piece at a time on a millet-floured surface until it is about ¼-inch thick, reserving the other pieces in plastic wrap under a towel.
- With a pasta roller or rolling pin, roll out each piece into a thin sheet, lightly dusting both sides with millet flour as you go. If using the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment, send the dough through setting 1, fold it in half, then send it again. Repeat until it feeds through smooth, then reduce the thickness one stop at a time until you get to a 4, which is the setting before the pasta begins to get paper thin.
- Either by hand or using the thick noodle cutter attachment, cut each sheet into wide noodles and toss them with a sprinkle of millet flour to keep them from sticking together while you roll out the rest of the noodles.
- Drop the noodles into the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and gently toss it with a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.
- Click to get the recipe for Fresh Chickpea Pappardelle with Buttered Chanterelles, Thyme, and Wine shown in the pictures above.
*Approximately 1¾ cups dried chickpeas will grind into 300g of sifted chickpea flour. After grinding the chickpeas in a grain mill or coffee grinder, sift the flour through a fine mesh sieve to remove any larger particles.