Sourdough Pasta

Have you always wanted to try homemade pasta? Or have you been swimming in discarded sourdough starter, lately? In either case, this recipe from sourdough baker and cookbook author, Bryan Ford is for you! The dough is especially versatile, whether transformed into wide, flat pappardelle; fine, thin fettuccine or linguini; or stuffed pasta. And can be flavored several different ways: plain, spinach, or tomato. The best part of all is that you don't necessarily need a food processor or pasta machine to make it (though go ahead and use them if you’re not ready for an upper-body workout!).

Prep
45 mins
Total
2 hrs
Yield
about 2 pounds fresh pasta; about 8 servings
Sourdough Pasta

Instructions

  1. Weigh each flour; or measure by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  2. To make the dough by hand: In a large bowl whisk together the flours. Scoop them into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the center of the mound deep enough to see the work surface below.

  3. Add the sourdough discard and eggs to the well and use a fork to whisk them together, slowly incorporating a bit of the flour around the edges. Continue incorporating more of the flour until the dough starts to form clumps.

  4. Add 25g of the olive oil and the salt, and mix and knead the dough with your hands, adding water 10g at a time until everything holds together and hardly any dry flour remains; the dough will be stiff and will tear easily.

  5. Divide the dough into three pieces. Set two of the pieces aside and cover them lightly with a cloth or plastic wrap.

  6. To make the dough in a food processor: Pulse together the flours, then add the discard and eggs and process to make a crumbly, dry mixture. Add the olive oil and salt and process again to incorporate.

  7. With the processor running, drizzle in the water until the dough starts to form clumps.

  8. Stop the processor, transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into three pieces. Set two of the pieces aside and cover them lightly with a cloth or plastic wrap.

  9. To make plain dough: Knead the third piece of dough by hand, adding 10g to 30g more water until the dough doesn’t crumble or break as you’re kneading it. Continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  10. Wrap the dough in plastic or place it in an airtight container and set it aside to rest for 1 hour at room temperature; or refrigerate it for up to 1 day.

  11. To make spinach dough: Add another piece of dough to the food processor along with the spinach, 10g of olive oil, and 10g to 20g of water. Process until the dough turns green. Transfer the dough to your work surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.

  12. Wrap and store the dough as directed above.

  13. To make sun-dried tomato dough: Add the final piece of dough to the food processor along with the sun-dried tomato halves, 10g of oil from the tomato jar, and 10g to 20g of water. Process until the dough turns orange-red. Transfer it to your work surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Wrap and store the dough as directed above.

  14. To roll the dough: Working with half a piece of dough at a time (keep the rest covered), roll the dough as thinly as possible using a heavy rolling pin or pasta machine. For shaped pasta like tortelli, the dough should be about 1/32” (less than 1mm), and for long pasta, like pappardelle, fettuccine, or linguine, 1/8” or less (2mm to 3mm) is about right.

  15. To shape tortelli: Cut the dough into rounds using a 2 1/2” to 3” cookie cutter, or the lid of a jar. Gather the scraps into a ball, cover, and set aside to re-roll once the dough has rested for 20 to 30 minutes.

  16. Place a teaspoonful of spinach in the middle of each pasta round. Top with a small cube or teaspoonful of semisoft cheese: mozzarella or provolone are good choices.

  17. Fold opposite sides up and pinch them together to create a semicircle. Lay the semicircles on their sides and crimp with a fork to seal thoroughly. Finally, pinch their ends together to create crescent shapes.

  18. Place the shaped tortelli on a plate or baking sheet and set them aside until you’re ready to boil them.

  19. To shape pappardelle, fettuccine, or linguine: Lightly coat the top of the dough sheets with a little semolina flour, then loosely roll them up.

  20. Cut the rolled-up dough into strips — about 3/4” wide for pappardelle, 1/2” wide for fettuccine, and just over 1/8” wide for linguine. Unroll the strips and let them dry on a rack, dowel, or on a clean work surface for 20 to 30 minutes.

  21. Curl the strands into loose mounds ("nests") and set them aside until you’re ready to boil them.

  22. To boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 2 to 4 minutes; it should still have a slight bite (al dente). Drain the pasta immediately, reserving some of the cooking liquid for whatever sauce you choose to make, if desired.

  23. To store fresh pasta: If you’re planning to cook the pasta later, cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage.  

Tips from our Bakers

  • Bryan develops his recipes by metric weight, so for best accuracy we recommend measuring by weight. That said, we recognize that some bakers prefer to work with volume measurements; so here are the volume approximations for the ingredients in the dough: 

    -  1 3/4 cups King Arthur ‘00’ Pizza Flour 
    -   3 cups semolina flour 
    -   7 tablespoons sourdough starter, unfed/discard 
    -   4 large eggs 
    -   3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    -   1 tablespoon salt 
    -   4 to 6 tablespoons water, divided 
    -   3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
    -   5 or 6 jarred sun-dried tomato halves 

  • This recipe makes a large amount of dough; and because of its low hydration and semolina's high protein content, it's very stiff. If you’re challenged strength-wise (or simply want to make your life easier), we recommend using a food processor for the initial mixing of the dough.