Zach & I have an annual tradition of making homemade pasta each Valentine's Day. Last year we made three types of ravioli: cheese, sausage, & spinach and mushroom. Each pasta was a different color: sausage = red, cheese = white, spinach = green. This year we wanted to do colored pasta again but try a fettuccine noodle this time, and try a twist to the coloring! So today I am going to share with you how to color pasta black with cuttlefish ink. You read that right & it's really fun.
Start with a regular pasta recipe (we used a modified one from memory & looked to the book that came with our pasta machine for reference). The general ingredients are flour, eggs, & water, you'll also need to pick up some cuttlefish ink. You should be able to find this at any sort of international store or even if you have a amazing supermarket. Zach found his online.
This was the first time we got to try using the mixer to make pasta & it was a bit of a challenge. Last year we made piles of flour & egg on the table and I worked it together with my hands. This year I really wanted to try the dough hook attachment on my mixer. A place online suggested to start with the regular beater attachment to get the mixture going, then to switch to the dough hook. That's what we did.
From last year we learned that sometimes you'll need more water & sometimes you'll need more flour. As we started to mix the eggs, four, & water we also added two packets of the cuttlefish ink. Now, I will worn you it smells a bit ...... fishy. But don't worry! It won't be fishy when you get done, I promise! Because we were a little bit inexperienced with the mixer we pulled the dough out a bit & worked it with our hands to get the ink distributed well. The mixer takes a lot fo the kneading out but you'll still need to knead it a bit with your hands until it's the right consistency.
|Here's where I took it out the first time to incorporate the ink. I threw it back in to knead some more|
Our cart came in pretty handy when making the pasta! It was great extra counter space! At the end of it all you want the dough to not be sticky. Your ball of dough should almost feel like play-dough on the dry side - it still sticks to itself, it's not flaky, but it's not sticking to your hands - it's just a nice little ball of dough. This will take adding more water or more flour to the dough, but do it in increments so you don't end up adding too much.
Now you're ready to let your dough sit for 30 minutes. Throw a towel over it & just let it be. Now is the time to clean up your mixing bowl, but don't put your flour away. You'll need it to help running the pasta through the pasta maker.
Start by cutting off chunks from your dough ball about an inch in width. Begin running through your pasta maker on the largest setting. You'll need to add flour if it starts sticking, fold it over, run it through again. You want it to become a consistent sheet of dough before moving down to the next notch Keep going, making a consistent sheet of dough before moving down in size. We ran our pasta dough until it reached the 7 notch. Then threw flour on both sides & ran it through the fettuccine attachement. Let me tell you, it's much better to have a friend doing this with you! Your sheet of dough will be long & you may need a friend to catch and organize the pasta strings.
Since our dryer is out (we just had the new one delivered, but it's not hooked up yet..can't wait!) we've been using drying racks for our clothes. These drying racks did double duty as a place to hang the pasta! I am not quite sure what we would have done if we didn't have these, so a place to hang your fresh pasta is important!
Now prepare your meal as normal. Since your pasta is fresh, it won't take any time to boil up so watch it & make sure it doesn't overcook. Zach made up some scallops & shrimp, added some asparagus and we put Alfredo sauce over the noodles. It was an amazing dinner. You may want to have a few friends over because you'll end up with a lot of pasta, we'll have leftovers for a bit.
So there you have it! Homemade pasta dyed with cuttlefish ink! It turns out really pretty. Homemade pasta is very fun to make. You can make it yourself, but it's fun to do with a friend. I think it's really a team work sort of thing because you have to work together when the sheet of pasta gets too long for you! Cooking together is one of my favorite things. I'm so glad I have a great cook to work with!