These homemade whole grain “handkerchief” noodles are soaked overnight for both better nutrition and better digestibility. They are then rolled thin and cut into squares in a traditional noodle shape. It should remind you a little of a handkerchief, hence it’s name. Your fresh pasta is now ready to dry or cook. When cooked, they have the wonderful combination of rustic tenderness. All you need is a pasta sauce! We adore them.
These noodles are made from my recipe for soaked, rustic homemade noodles. The only difference is that they are rolled thinner and cut into larger squares instead of strips. The reason we have begun to like this method better is because the thinness of the noodle keeps it more tender and delicate, while cutting it into the larger shape helps hold it together (the strips tend to fall apart more easily when rolled thin).
Because they are rolled so thinly, they also dry very well. I currently have no special equipment for drying my pasta. I either lay them on cooling racks (this works best), or lay them on the table (one recipe will cover my whole table with drying pasta). When you lay them on a surface like a table to dry, make sure that you keep flipping them every once in a while, so that they will dry evenly. I usually use both methods as I don’t own enough cooling racks for all of my pasta to dry on.
It took me about 12 hours to completely dry my pasta. You know it’s done when they feel dry, and you can break one and it feels “crisp”.
By the way, I am not sure how long dried pasta lasts for as it always disappears very quickly around here. Does anyone have any experience in the keeping qualities of an eggless homemade dried pasta?
I have tried to give more details this time of the process, but feel free to ask any questions.
Rustic, Soaked “Handkerchief” Noodles
You will probably find that the top of your dough will become slightly discolored after “soaking” overnight. Don’t worry about it. It’s just fine and won’t effect the taste. This makes about one pound of pasta which is supposed to serve four people as a main dish or six people as a first dish.
3-3 1/2 cups of freshly ground whole wheat or spelt flour
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1-The night before you plan on rolling out your pasta, combine all three of your ingredients. You can use a stand mixer or a Bosch to knead the dough for you (for the bosch, a doubled recipe works best). In that case, just dump them all in and knead into a stiff dough for about 6 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, combine the vinegar and water and place in a bowl. Add 2 cups of flour and thoroughly combine with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the flour slowly and work into the dough. When it becomes too stiff to work anymore, dump it out onto a floured surface and gently knead more flour into it until it forms a stiff dough. (This will take about ten minutes of kneading).
2-Oil a bowl well, and place your dough inside of it. Turn the dough over, so that the top is lightly covered with oil. Cover well and leave out on the counter overnight.
3-When ready to roll, divide your dough into four pieces (it’s easier to control the thickness of the dough this way). I like to roll out my dough right out on a large wooden cutting board. Use white flour or arrowroot powder to flour both the board you are working on, the rolling pin and the top of the pasta. It’s crucial that you keep everything well covered with flour to be successful.
Roll out evenly until your dough is very thin. I like to keep lifting the dough every once in a while as I roll to make sure that it isn’t sticking to the board. I roll mine at least 1/8 of an inch thin. Then cut into squares. I like everything from 2 1/2 inch squares to twice that size. If you haven’t been working on a cutting board, you will need to gently lift your pasta dough and place it on your cutting board. Do this by gently draping it over the rolling pin and then moving it over. I find that a pizza cutter works great for cutting pasta easily and quickly.
4-As you continue to cut your pasta, dust it lightly with flour and spread out on the counter or cooling racks, or sheet pans. Once you have cut everything out, you will be ready to cook them! (To dry, read my notes above this recipe).
5-Heat a large pot of water, and salt it well. Bring to a rolling boil and gently start to add your noodles in, keeping the water at a simmer. I find that these noodles are usually cooked in about 3-6 minutes. It will depend on how thin you rolled them and whether they are fresh or dried (dried takes slightly longer to cook). Start checking at three minutes. Fresh pasta should not be “al dente”, but soft all the way through.
6-When finished, treating your pasta gently, drain well and toss with your choice of pasta sauces and serve! Both of these pasta sauces go well. Homemade Marinara Sauce and Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.