Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Spelt & Kamut Pasta

I take and keep notes when making pasta with a new flour blend. I often shoot a reference picture of the recipe with the finished pasta. If the dish turns out, I store the photo on my computer and the recipe in my pasta journal. (Sometimes it takes me a while to move my notes into my journal.)


About week ago, I came across a photograph of an emmer and Kamut pasta that I made back in 2016. I wanted to try out the recipe again, but couldn’t find any emmer grains in my pantry. I did, however, find a bag of spelt. I decided to improvise.


If you root around on The Internet, you will find a lot of conflicting information on…well, a lot of things, but, for purposes of this post, on emmer, spelt and einkorn grains. Each is different, but these grains often get lumped together as farro. Although mixing-up emmer, spelt and einkorn is easy, it’s hard to confuse these grains with Kamut, which is a trade name for Khorasan wheat. I love cooking and baking with Kamut. I often blend this ancient durum wheat with other flours to make pretty much everything taste better. When I received my first bag of Kamut from Montana Flour & Grain, I understood why some call it “Camel’s Tooth”. If you have not worked this grain, I suggest you give it a try. Finding Khorasan wheat gets easier with each passing year.


Per my 2016 notes, I used 75% emmer and 25% Kamut flour. I wanted to keep close to these percentages with my spelt and Kamut pasta. With a goal of making 2 serving portions, I started with 250 grams of spelt that I milled and sifted through a No. 40 and No. 50 sieve. (More on bolting flour here.) This produced 75 grams of spelt flour. I then milled 150 grams of Kamut grain and similarly sifted the flour achieving 32 grams of Kamut flour. I wanted 115 grams of total flour, so I added 8 grams of Central Milling Organic Type 00 Normal to my flour mixture.


I usually add an egg and a yolk to 115 grams of flour when making pasta. In this case the egg/yolk mixture weighed 78 grams. After mixing the flour and egg together by hand in a shallow bowl, I kneaded the dough for 8 minutes, wrapped it in plastic, and set the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.


After resting, the dough felt soft so I decided to make a laminated noodle using my Imperia R220 manual pasta machine. After multiple passes through the rollers, I stopped at the machine’s number 3 setting. The pasta still felt a tad soft. I cut the pasta into 4 sheets, dusted it with semolina and let the sheets air dry on my kitchen counter for about 15 minutes per side. Because I planned a sauce of fresh borlotti beans and razor clams, I cut the pasta into tagliatelle. I wrapped the cut noodles in a kitchen towel and let them sit for about 45 minutes as I made my sauce.


I taste my fresh pasta while it cooks. Although the pasta felt soft after rolling, the cooked spelt and Kamut pasta had a firm bite to it. After about 2 minutes in salty, boiling water, the pasta achieved the right texture to finish cooking for another minute or so in my sauce.


Spelt pasta has a lovely mild wheat flavor. Bolted Kamut flour helps the noodle’s strength. Conclusion: Switching out the emmer for spelt worked out great. For the last couple of years I have experimented with making an extruded Kamut pasta using my torchio pasta press. After a lot of fine tuning, I’m getting closer to a recipe that I can share with you.