Give your meal a splash of color!
There's nothing we love more than making and eating fresh pasta. But sometimes, especially when our pasta is paired with a light sauce, we crave a little vibrancy and color! Luckily, adding some color to the mix requires little effort when you're making pasta from scratch! Besides some minor prep, making colorful pasta is a breeze.
We can't think of anything worse than taking a bite of something that you thought would have a certain flavor and being disappointed when it doesn't, which is why we want to clarify before we give you the lowdown on creating colored pastas, that it is not the same as flavored pasta. There are many ways to add flavor to your pasta but for the most part, colored pastas are just for looks.
What To Keep In Mind
Coloring pasta dough is much easier than you'd imagine. Virtually all you need to do is take a coloring agent (typically a puree made of boiled vegetables, a vegetable paste, or even squid ink) and add it to your fresh pasta dough. In fact, once you've got your coloring agent, the process is virtually identical to making regular ol' pasta.
According to Serious Eats, when it comes to making fresh colored pasta, the only real variable you'll want to watch out for is water content. Pasta relies on one thing above all others: gluten, the network of proteins that form when water and flour mix to give pasta its stretchy texture and bite. Developing gluten is crucial for classic pasta. There's also such thing as too much water—a dough made of just flour and water can turn out bland and mushy. That being said, it's important to keep in mind the natural water content of your vegetable puree. You may need to do some experimenting with your flour, eggs, water and puree to ensure your dough is the perfect consistency.
Remember, at the end of the day even the wateriest of dough can be saved with a little extra flour. Similarly, if your dough is feeling a little too dry, it can always be balanced out with an extra splash of water or vegetable puree!
When to Add Color
First things first you'll need a good recipe for fresh pasta. Don't have one? We've got you covered with our favorite fresh pasta recipe. Follow the recipe, and once you have your pasta base laid out (flour, eggs and salt) you'll mix in the coloring agent of your choice until your pasta dough has formed.
A Note on Kneading
In the case of colored doughs, you want to ensure that the coloring agent of your choice has evenly penetrated the entire ball for the most vibrancy. To do this we recommend a couple extra minutes of kneading after letting the dough rest. This is when the gluten network is a little less tight and therefore easier to manipulate.
Once you've got your dough, you can cut them into wide noodles for lasagna or pappardelle, thinner noodles for linguine or fettuccine, or even transform it into ravioli or tortellini! We recommend serving with your favorite Pasta Jay's Sauce.