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Buckwheat Pasta

Posted on Jun 10, 2014 in Blog, Mains | 2 comments

Buckwheat and me, we got a long history. Around 15 years ago when living in Melbourne, I tried my hand at making a buckwheat sourdough starter. (Yeah – that one still needs a bit of work.)  Then, while living in Japan, apart from rice, buckwheat was the one grain that I could quite easily get hold of.  One of my students had buckwheat growing in the paddocks around her house, so Daz and I went a’pickin’. We hung the bundles of buckwheat outside the back door on a bamboo rafter. It was very picturesque and rural in a non-useful kinda way. I had every intention of hulling and grinding the seeds on my traditional stone “usu”, but… I never got around to it.  Buckwheat is often grown in Japan as a rotational crop for fallow rice paddies. The husks are used to fill pillows and the seeds are used for primarily for soba noodles.  I also attended a soba making workshop, which was the bees’ knees. Set in a traditional Japanese kitchen, we ground the buckwheat by hand and learned how to encourage the buckwheat flour and water to bind to form a dough. Since Japan, I’ve played with buckwheat on and off, but recently I’ve sunk my energies into playing with Bonza Buckwheat again. The  bread that we’ve been making since Easter is a 65% buckwheat bread – and it’s delish! Plus, a couple of weeks ago, we had the Buckwheat cooking workshop at Birdseed, and so for this, I brushed up on some of my buckwheat recipes and insights to share. It reminded me how much I love this earthy little grain. This little powerhouse of nutrition. So when Little Miss asked for pasta for dinner on Sunday, I thought – “well giddy up! I’ve got some freshly ground buckwheat, I’ve got eggs. Let’s do this thing!” Now I have made pasta before – with spelt and freshly ground wheat flour – many, many, ooooo, many moons ago. And I’ve made GF gnocchi before. But never pasta-pasta. But I’ve made soba noodles a few times – so how hard can this be? Now, my kitchen is a tinee-tiny space (think walk-in wardrobe here, and NOT the one that Big had built for SJP in the “Sex in the City” movie!). So, I decided to use my soba mixing bowl to mix the pasta in (hoping that I’d keep the mess to a minimum – HA! Fat chance!)  In went the buckwheat flour and glutinous rice flour into the bowl with some salt. No xanthan gum, no guar gum, no psyllium husk, no flax seeds, no chia seeds, no CMC or HPMC or fruit pectin. You really don’t need any of that stuff when you’re using eggs. Keep it simple, folks! Pop the eggs into the middle of the flour and mix, mix, mix, gloopy, lumpy mess. It looks like...

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