I recently bought another bag of purple carrots and a few containers of purple beetroot leaves (more on those in my next market post!) and I thought I’d use them to make coloured pasta. The final dishes weren’t as brightly coloured as I’d hoped, but I did have a lot of fun making them, so today I’m sharing a few photos of the process and the end results.
I started with purple tagliatelle coloured using a purple leafy vegetable called “bull’s blood”, which I stir-fried and olive oil and blended before incorporating it into the dough.
In addition to flour, salt, and oil, I also added a bit of soya yoghurt to the dough. I’d never seen this done before, but non-vegan pasta recipes often include eggs and my favourite vegan pasta dough contains chickpea flour, so I wanted to try this as a way to add extra protein. The texture of the dough was good, but I’m not sure whether it would go with every type of sauce because the cooked pasta did have a faint yoghurt aroma.
Whenever I’d made fresh pasta in the past, I’d have to stop halfway through to figure out where the heck I was going to leave all the pasta while I rolled out the rest of the dough. This time I decided to try hanging a laundry drying rack from my kitchen wall, and that actually worked pretty well! OK, we hardly had any room to walk and the floor was a floury mess, but at least I could finish the pasta without everything sticking together.
And now for the plates of cooked tagliatelle. I knew in advance that I didn’t want to dress the dishes up too much so that the focus would be on the pasta, both in terms of colour and flavour. Unfortunately the lack of sauce also gave the pasta the chance to get super sticky, so next time I would use more oil/and or cooking water (even though the latter looked dark grey and fairly creepy after I’d used it to boil the purple pasta).
For the plate on the left, I just fried slices of red chilli pepper and garlic in olive oil and stirred them into the hot pasta. I think this is one of those dishes that’s incredibly simple but very easy to love, and it definitely allows the pasta to shine.
I wanted to use a little more sauce for the pasta on the right, so I made a pesto with dill, toasted sunflower seeds, lemon juice and salt, inspired by three creamy pasta dishes with dill that I’d seen on Alynda’s blog De Plantaardige Keuken. I also added some peas. Of course the sauce dulled the colour of the pasta, and the pasta was still a bit sticky, but the combination with the creamy dill sauce was lovely.
I had purple carrots on hand and I’d made orange gnocchi before, so this time I made purple carrot gnocchi using the same recipe. Again, the dough looked great, but the colour of the cooked gnocchi wasn’t nearly as bright. They were almost more blue than purple. I mixed in roasted orange and purple carrots (which may only have made the dish look even more alien) and put some parsley pesto on top. I love gnocchi and pesto and roasted carrots, so I think this was my favourite of the three dishes.
So: would I recommend making these kinds of pasta dough? Yes, especially if you’re like me and it makes you happy to see all these bright colours in your kitchen. It’s a nice change, and it doesn’t take much more work than regular fresh pasta. The colour does limit the number of sauces you can serve with the pasta if you don’t want it to look too revolting.
Have you ever made coloured pasta? I still feel like fresh pasta takes a lot of work, but it gets easier every time and I kind of feel I should use the pasta machine more often to justify the space it takes up in my cupboard. I’d like to find a way to make the colour of the pasta even more intense — maybe by using roasted carrots for the gnocchi instead of boiled ones? But then you still have to boil the dough, and that gets rid of a lot of the colour as well. I did some googling and I found ideas for all kinds of coloured pasta with different vegetables — look at these! And these! Ahh so pretty.