Gluten-Free Pasta: Mission ImPASTAble – noodle nightmares, never more

pasta-hero

When I cooked store-bought gluten-free pasta for the first time, it was an unfortunate situation.

I boiled the water, tossed in the spaghetti, briefly stirred it, then walked away. When I returned to drain it, I had missed the timer by a minute or so, and my brown rice noodles had turned into a mass of pasta pudding.

If you’re eating gluten free, you’ve probably had it before: the sticky, pasty mess that’s the result of many cooked brown rice pastas out on the market. The mush in the pot. The inability to tell where the noodles begin and the sauce ends. Even a good glass of wine can’t redeem this disaster.

The best thing about making homemade pasta is that it’s easy, but you quickly become a hero at home because you made it yourself. It’s more delicate and elegant compared to dumping a heap of dry noodles into boiling water, which have to cook for almost 10 minutes. The fresh stuff takes less than 5.

Pasta, like bread, contains a few simple ingredients, so there are few excuses not to make your own.

Save your pasta machine for the kids’ play-dough or pressing wildflowers, because you’ll have to hand-roll this recipe. This gluten-free dough is too finicky to tolerate the intensity of being cranked through stainless steel bars, but a dream to work with by hand. By now we’ve all learned to embrace the quirks and higher maintenance demands of gluten-free baking, so what’s one more?

Get your favorite rolling pin ready, and learn to love the labor of homemade pasta.

First, combine 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour with 2 teaspoons xanthan gum. I chose to use a food processor to take advantage of the pulsing feature, which gave me more control when bringing the dough together, especially when adding the water little by little.

Eggs: yolks only. One, two, three, four …

plus one more whole egg (yolk and white).

Pulse together until you have crumbles similar to the ones above. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between additions. Then knead it all into a smooth dough.

Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and prepare for the easiest dough-rolling experience ever.

A rolling pin’s dream come true, this dough never tore, stuck, or fought back.

You can successfully roll the pasta fairly thin and make noodles of various widths; or if you prefer to cut small shapes with a cutter, you’ll want to keep it on the thicker side (about 1/8″).

The star cutter happened to be handy in the test kitchen and it was the perfect size. There are a variety of mini-sized cutters to choose from, such as fruit mini pastry cutters; or, if you’re in an educational mood, alphabet and number cutters.

Just offering a visual of one of the many possibilities… A 5 wheel accordion cutter would also be suitable for this job, but it would give you a straight-edged noodle instead of this crimped look.

The pasta spa with salt.

The very happy school of swimming stars are taking a 4-minute bath. I rolled the dough on the thicker side for the cutouts, so I’d suggest simmering for only 2 minutes when cooking a thinner, more delicate noodle.

Perfectly cooked pasta and a facial. Life is good.

Toss immediately in olive oil or any sauce you have prepared. If you’re planning to eventually build a salad, the oil will keep the pasta pieces from gluing to one another as they cool.

Check out our recipes for Pasta Carbonara, Homemade Pasta With Sage Butter, or Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce for some inspiration to go with your new gluten-free masterpiece.

Pasta (hot or cold) wearing arugula, grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella would be considered festively dressed for summer.

I love spicy arugula with sweet, fruity tomato and the mellowing nature of mozzarella. A little salt and pepper are all it takes to bring this simple dish to your outdoor dining table.

As you can see, the gluten free pasta also makes a great pillow. These raviolis are filled with feta and spinach, but this pasta could hold any creative mixture of cheeses, meats, or vegetables. Either the double-sided round or square linzer cutters would give an artistic, fluted look to the edges.

Whatever your pasta pleasure, I hope you’ll finally be able to bypass the bags in the grocery store – never again to be overwhelmed by too many choices and the anticipation of unsatisfactory results. Make some today and let the gluten run wild and free.

Please read, make, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Pasta.

Print just the recipe.

Amy Trage
About

Amy Trage is a native of Vermont where she spent much of her childhood skiing and training for the equestrian event circuit. With a strong desire to pursue food writing, Amy took her English degree from Saint Anselm College to the New England Culinary Institute ...

comments

  1. shetherington

    Can you make GF pasta ahead at all, or do you need to make it immediately before cooking it? Also, forgive me if I missed it, but how much pasta does this make? Thanks so much for the recipe–I haven’t been thrilled with the brown rice pasta I’ve found so far, so this is encouraging!
    You have the option of letting it dry before you cook it or cooking it freshly made. The recipe makes four servings. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoy it! ~Amy

    Reply
  2. "Paul from Ohio"

    “Pasta Spa” and “Facial” !!! You ARE wonderful writer with a great sense of humor and personality. So fun to follow along with AMY! Hardly a chore at all to make fresh pasta – go for it!!!!! Who knew it could be this simple……..and I’ll have to try it to see how yummy! Best 2 U!
    Hey thanks so much! It’s always a joy to see your feedback here. ~Amy

    Reply
  3. joanneblunk

    Have you a recipe for gluten free gnocchi? What is sweet rice flour?Sweet rice flour is a specialty item and I located it on the Bob’s Red Mill website http://bit.ly/cWhPQj. I’m curious as to why they are calling for rice flour when gnocchi is traditionally made with potatoes and is already gluten free. Here is an all potato recipe. http://bit.ly/dyQ8iR betsy@kaf

    Reply
  4. tolovana

    betsy@kaf The recipe you linked is not gluten free, it’s got 1 and 1/2 cups of flour in it.
    I will follow up by email. Thanks! Elisabeth

    Reply
  5. JuliaJ

    Do you have a regular (non-gluten-free) pasta recipe that is easy to roll out with a rolling pin? Though I would love to get a pasta machine, I don’t have any more counter or cabinet space for more gadgets! Thank you.
    You can roll almost any pasta out by hand if needed. Find our recipe for fresh herb pasta here. ~Amy

    Reply
  6. avidbirder

    Hi KAF! You guys have done amazing things for the GF community, but I am really hoping to see some dairy-free recipes in the near future for us lactards! I gave up baking for nearly a full year when I discovered I was lactose-intolerant, but the recent discovery of coconut oil as an amazing butter substitute has reintroduced the possibility of delicious baked goods back into my life. I’d love to see you blog about some delicious dairy-free pies, cinnamon rolla, scones, etc with these alternatives. KAF has always been my go-to source for recipes, but now that I’m a lactard I need some new material!

    We’re so pleased that you’ve found ways to bake again – Food sensitivities are a real challenge for many families whether they are the bakers, meal planners or the eaters! The community section of our website may hold some tips from other dairy free bakers. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF/strong>

    Reply
  7. kaf-sub-lpotter114

    I am confused about the recipe for gluten free pasta. The online
    recipe with pictures calls for 3 egg yolks and one whole egg. The recipe that prints out says 4 large egg yolks and one large egg.
    Which one is correct? I am new to your community and I am so happy to have found your gluten free recipes.
    Thank you so much for catching that typo for me! Yes, the recipe that you printed is correct with the 4 yolks and 1 whole egg. I will make the correction to the blog right away. ~Amy

    Reply
  8. skratch

    This recipe is the tastiest, most fantastic thing to happen to GF eating in a decade! It works exactly as the recipe says. So easy to make . Infinitely better than any GF pasta I have ever tried. What a treat. Thanks so much!
    Kathleen
    Kathleen, I am so glad you tried the recipe and had success! Thank you! ~Amy

    Reply
  9. mommabakesGF

    Amy – can’t wait to try this with my kiddos for this week’s pasta night! A couple quick questions though (I’m still working on my GF cooking experimentation confidence!) – have you used only the GF multi-purpose flour, or will the KAF “do-it-yourself-mix” work too? Also, have you tried subbing any ancient grains or GF whole grain flour in — to give the pasta a nutrition kick? Thanks!
    Hello there! I do not know if Amy has tried to use a homemade blend in this recipe. We do have a recipe on our site to make your own GF Multi-purpose flour. This recipe can be used in just about any of our GF recipes that call for our GF Multi-purpose flour blend. You could try it. Meanwhile, I will let Amy know you are curious about whether she has experimented with other flour blends. She will comment as soon as she can. Elisabeth
    Hi! I have not experimented with whole grain blends, but would imagine it would work with a little extra liquid (maybe an extra egg). A whole grain blend will introduce a different texture and I would minimize the amount of ancient grains flour in this recipe (don’t use more than 1/4 cup). I hope this helps. Please let us know about your results. ~Amy

    Reply
  10. elke in ky.

    I am making this for the first time tonight! Thanks You for the recipe with pictures and notes…..you really are a gifted writer! please post more GF rrecipes :)

    Reply
  11. Roxanne

    Do you know if this could be made with flax eggs? or any thoughts on it? Thanks

    Because the recipe has so many eggs in it, I would be very hesitant to make a full swap. Of course, not to say it won’t work! Give it a try making a half batch and see how it shapes up (be cautious though as flax tends to be very gooey!). Start with 2 Tbs of egg substitute (for a half batch!) and see how it works. Please feel free to post about this if we don’t get to it first. We’d love to hear how it turns out!Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  12. agurciaparker

    I made this today and have to throw it away. It was gummy, hard to handle and very bland. I love all KAF products and recipes, but this one was no bueno.

    The water in this recipe is critical to the dough’s outcome: adding it little-by-little ensures a smooth dough. It is possible you added a tiny bit too much water and had a gummy dough. It might be worth a shot again someday! You can also adjust the GF flour in the recipe and add other GF flours to alter the flavor if you like; just don’t forget the xanthan gum! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  13. Kathleen Johnston

    I am having to learn how to go gluten free because my daughter has become gluten intolerant due to chemo therapy. I just love KA products and have used them now exclusively for 6 years. I have also convinced my family to start using KA. There is a huge difference in the quality and the freshness between KA and other well-known brands. However, I had trouble with KA recipes because I always measured my flour by the cuo and every thing always came out to dense and very dry. I wrote you and you suggested that I weigh th flour, ie. 1 C is 4.25 oz. I started doing that and all worked great. I found that my cups were weighing in around 5.0 oz. Way to much. I saw your gluten free flours and of course I just have to try them based on my experience with you in the past. In your GF Pasta recipe you give the volume measurement for the GF MU Flour and I am worried about using that. I was wondering if you have the weight equivalent? Thanks ever so much,

    Kathleen

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for your precision, Kathleen! One cup of Gluten Free Multi Purpose Flour = 5.5 ounces. Happy GF Baking! Irene @KAF

  14. meri erickson

    Have you had any luck storing GF pasta? Last time I made a batch of pasta, I kept the dough covered in plastic in the refrigerator overnight. When I rolled it out, it was brittle and could not be cut. So the next time, I cut it into fettuccini, wrapped it on plastic and put it in the frig. Once again, it crumbled.
    Does it have to be made, cut and cooked the same day? Is frig storage possible?
    LMK

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Meri- I just spoke with our GF blogger, Amy. Unfortunately, she does not have any experience with storing GF pasta dough. You did not mention how long you stored it in the frig and how it was wrapped. Like for most things that we want to store for later use, the freezer may be your best option. I am checking with another colleague and will return with any other information that may be helpful! Elisabeth@KAF

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi again – I have heard back from our test kitchen and we have not tried storing GF pasta dough. GF starches hydrate at different rates and depending upon the initial “wetness” of the dough it could work, or not. I hope that helps! Elisabeth@KAF

  15. Jennifer Macre

    Hi,
    I am SO excited to give this a try but I have 2 questions: 1. can I use a pasta machine to roll this and 2. can I freeze it uncooked, like I used to do with regular pasta?
    Thank you,
    Jennifer

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The answer to both of your questions is yes! Just make sure to slowly work the dough through the roller with plenty of gluten free flour to prevent sticking. Jon@KAF

  16. brandy

    My question is can this pasta be stored? Also should you let it dry before you store it?
    Great east recipe, just hope I can store it!! Thanks

    Sent to Amy for response. 2/2/14 ~ MJ

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage , post author

      This pasta can keep for a few days in the fridge in an air-tight container. I have not experimented with drying it at this point. ~Amy

  17. David Ricci

    I had a lot of problems working with this dough. Could not get it to roll out with my Imperia machine. A lot of cracking when I used the rolling pin and making ravioli. I read where the secret is how the water is added. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage , post author

      Hi David. It sounds like your dough was too dry. Sometimes, in the drier winter months, you just need to add a little extra water when mixing the dough. The dough should be really easy to work with, not too dry or sticky. ~Amy

  18. Lynn Deitz

    Hi Amy, enjoyed your blog for gluten free pasta. I have an Omega juicer with a pasta extruder. The dough would have to be made by hand or food processor but can I use this juicer for making the spaghetti or linguine pasta or will it make a sticky mess in my juicer?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The recipe with this juicer uses semolina flour and 3 eggs to make a firm dough. It may be best to err on the side of caution and contact the juicer manufacturer to see if they’ve had success with GF pasta doughs. Wishing you happy baking – or pasta making! Irene@KAF

  19. Gluten Free Pasta

    Thanks for your blog…Thanks for sharing recipe for gluten free pasta.These tips are really amazing. I appreciate it for sharing them.Thanks….

    Reply

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