Whole Wheat Pasta From Scratch

I was given a KitchenAid pasta press a few years ago as a gift and really enjoyed using it to make fresh pasta from scratch. I have to admit, the press doesn’t get used all that often because while it’s definitely fun to use, cleanup is it a bit of a pain. Yes, the results are great and the pasta deliciously fresh but it’s just not an every day kind of activity. Last weekend I had a bit of time up my sleeve and a craving for some whole wheat pasta so I thought “Why not?” Of course, just making pasta was the first step. I knew I’d have to compliment it with a delicious sauce and there were some strong opinions about the sauce needing to be tomato based. So I scoured the web looking for a recipe with my Ina Garten filter applied and lo and behold I came across this vodka-cream-sauce-like recipe published by Ina Garten titled “Nick and Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola”. The recipe calls for Penne but I figured the Rigatoni that my extruder can make would be close enough. 

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So off I went on my pasta and pasta sauce making adventure. I started by following the recipe from the Kitchen Aid Pasta Press booklet for whole wheat pasta. Here are all the pasta ingredients ready to go.

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Time to add the eggs and flour.

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Then you mix everything together. Video footage below. There are a few of these 🙂

Then you knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a nice ball of pasta dough. Here we have the dough alongside the disc of choice for the press – rigatoni!

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Time to swap out the bowl for the pasta attachment, turn the mixer onto speed 6 . I spent some up front time preparing little walnut size dough balls for insertion into the press and then proceeded to make the pasta. Oh and I needed a coffee so my assistant was kind enough to prepare one for me.

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Here’s some live action footage of the pasta being freshly pressed.

There you have it! Lots of whole wheat pasta ready for cooking.

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Ok, now it’s time to talk about the sauce. Here’s everything ready to go on the sauce front.

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I got the onions nice and translucent, with some spices added. Then it was time to add the vodka and cook that down till the liquid reduced by half. Then I proceeded to crush the tomatoes into the pot. Mix it all together and then bake in the oven.

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Here’s the sauce after coming out of the oven.

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It already tasted delicious at this point but the next step was to slowly puree the sauce in batches in the food processor. Here’s some footage of that.

Now it was time to bring everything together by cooking the pasta in boiling salted water (mine took about 6 minutes to cook) and then stiring it through the sauce.

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There you go! A delicious batch of pasta and pasta sauce made from scratch! With some broccoli rabe to go with it. A side was deemed necessary.

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Now for the taste test verdict. The sauce was really delicious and full of flavor. You could really taste the oregano but it wasn’t too overpowering. I made the rookie mistake of not reading through the entire pasta sauce recipe first and realized too late that the sauce needed quite a bit of time in the oven to bake. If I realized this sooner I might have switched round the order of things and gotten cracking on the sauce earlier. Pasta for lunch ended up becoming pasta for dinner as a result. I’m not sure if the sauce really needed the vodka but as Ina says, you should always follow the recipe exactly at least for the first time and then experiment to your hearts desire after you try it her way first. So maybe next time no vodka? As for the pasta, I think I would have preferred regular pasta (not whole wheat) for this recipe. I had some delicious whole wheat pasta in a recent blue apron recipe so I thought it was worth making for myself. Whole wheat or not whole wheat, I’m definitely going to venture beyond the KitchenAid recipe booklet for my next batch of fresh pasta. I’d really like to try using this recipe from David Lebovitz next time I do try it. Looks yum! I think using semolina is really going to make it taste delicioso!

Recipe – Whole Wheat Pasta From Scratch with Vodka Cream Sauce. Adapted from KitchenAid Pasta Press  recipe booklet and Ina Garten’s Food Network post for Nick and Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

Ingredients

For the pasta:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbs (30 mL) water
  • 31/2 cups (830 mL)  whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Bring large pot of salted water to the boil and get started preparing your fresh pasta

Place eggs, water, whole wheat flour, and salt in stand mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2
and mix 30 seconds.

Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes.

Form walnut-sized pieces of dough and extrude pasta into the rigatoni shape.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta until al-dente (this took me 6-7 minutes)

Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

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