Kamut Pasta…….This Is How We Roll

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Finally………I have only ever used store bought Kamut pasta. I wanted to try my hand making it at home. I have never used the whole grain before. How hard can this be? Well, for one I am not going to use any eggs. Egg pasta is richer and harder to digest than a pasta made from flour and water. In that context also, egg pasta can seem a little heavier. Need to know more about Kamut, check out my blogroll. Thanks to the good people at Kamut International who steered me towards Bob’s Red Mill. If you have an interest in grains, I’d suggest them.

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Here are the raw materials……….ground up Kamut, water and salt. There is no need to add anything else, especially olive oil. I have tried making it with olive oil. It did not work for me.

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There were two mistakes I made the first time around. I already mentioned olive oil. The second mistake I made was not to grind the grain fine enough. As a result, the small pieces of grain kernel worked like glass shards and cut into any elasticity action during the stretching or rolling out procedure. The simple corrective action was to sieve everything and re-mill what was left. Here, I was reminded of “00” pasta flour from Italy. “00” simply means that it has been re-milled. So, that’s what I did and obtained a finer measure of coarseness. I’m using the whole grain, don’t forget. Right now, the only way for me to get the Kamut flour finer is to obtain  a finer meshed strainer or sieve.

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So far, so good……..the pasta is not being ripped to bits. I can live with the rough edges of the pasta sheet. This was a very hard grain to deal with. If you have not made pasta before, I’d suggest not trying this just yet.If you are somewhat proficient at pasta making, press ahead and let me know how you made out. The observant eye will notice there is no clamp with my pasta machine. It makes the job a little harder to do.

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I weighed out 4 ounces of sieved or strained home milled Kamut and mixed it with 2 ounces of water, then kneaded it a while before introducing the pasta dough to the machine. I know there are different ways to roll out pasta. I used the hand-crank machine, an Imperia from Torino. Forza, Juve.

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Times like this I wish I had audio here……..pasta making music. I also decided to use the attachament that came with the pasta machine to make my life a little easier. There are other ways to cut pasta. I’m just happy I got this far with the project.

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Pasta and the sauce to go along with it……….one of life’s little or big mysteries. I’m opting for garlic and porcini mushrooms to build a sauce on.A splash of white wine for acidity and the leftover water from rehydrating the porcini mushrooms as a stock base. This starving peasant has no herbs. Sage might be nice. But then, I remembered….something more appropriate.

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What a delicious winter side-dish that can pair with just about anything. I roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and rutabaga and glazed them with local raw honey. Then I added a Sicilian twist with white wine soaked golden raisins and salted capers.

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I added the green radicchio to brighten the pan and  give bitterness to offset the earthiness of the porcini and also as a measure against the sweetness of the side-dish of roots. I used toasted chopped hazelnuts in addition because I can imagine wild boar going around the forest feeding on these things. Besides, the word “porcini” translates as little pigs. I added the hazelnuts for texture and crunch. Two things…..this dish could have used a little Speck or Pancetta added, entirely optional. There is that pig again. And secondly, there is no tomato sauce or cream. Extra virgin olive oil. Eat like a gangster. thanks for reading. Hello, Ireland and Hello, Japan.

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Dear Prudence, Won’t You Kamut To Play.

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I’m all about wheat. I grew up on it. And consequently, to this day, I care not for white bread. Gimme the whole grain.
Imagine then, years later being introduced to another ancient grain called Farro. I took special delight being able to weave that particular grain into my repertoire.
Kamut is another ancient grain. And it is grown here in the United States and other points around the globe. I heard about Alce Nero after a friend had attended a Slow Foods conference in Italy. Everything they do is organic and from Italy.
This is Penne Rigate. Little pencils that are ridged. On the label, you will see “integrale”. This means the whole grain. But they also tell you that it is 100 % Kamut. Cento per cento. I wonder if they will tell how long to cook it. Sometimes the label does’nt tell you. I guess they assume everybody knows how to cook pasta the right way. Unfortunately, most people are not as confident. 8 minutes to cook. It’s takes longer to write this sentence.

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My understanding is that Kamut is an old word for wheat from ancient Egypt. It can be traced back to Mesopotamia, todays Irag in the Middle East. I believe, but could be open to correction, that the Khorasan was a region straddling todays Iran and Afghanistan. I’m interested in how food travelled over time. Food history, I suppose. On the label, you will see the words ” bronze die”. The die is the part of the pasta machine where the pasta dough emerges and its cut or shape will be determined. Here the makers removed the previous die and replaced it with die to shape or cut penne rigate. Or ridged penne. There is also a die that allows you make penne with no ridges. And then there is penne zitoni and also pennette. All variations on the form using different dies.
The makers also used a bronze die. Using a bronze die will give the pasta a more rustic look. Some pastas like look like sandpaper. This is good. It gives the pasta tooth, allows your sauce to adhere to the pasta. The industrial alternative is a teflon die. Non-stick. No need to say anymore.

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Todays word of the day is……..L’inconfondibile

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The astute eye will notice the high protein content of the grain. This is good.

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The next step is for me to find some whole grain Kamut. There is none in my pantry. I think it will become a welcome addition to my kitchen and table. A real food with a real story. Love the energy. Thanks for reading.