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Local Organic Pasta

01.28.11

Bias disclaimer. I think John and his farm are fantastic. There, I’ve said it. If you want to formulate your own opinion on him and his farm, watch the From Local Farms episode about their farm. Yesterday was the FIRST time their farm attended a farmer’s market EVER. Which marked the first time their organic local flours were available on some form of retail level to folks like us. Some well respected bakers around town were hooked up – but now it’s our turn. I’m excited.

Local organic grain is important to me. I’ve often driven around the outskirts of the city, looking at the crops around town, wondering why they didn’t supply our local market with top-end food. Gold Forest Grains is one of the few farmers that are extremely local to Edmonton, which presents a challenge with the inherent high costs of production [anyone notice real estate isn't cheap around here?].

So I left the market with their current lineup: organic whole grain wheat [hard red spring], organic whole grain rye, organic whole grain pastry/pasta flour [soft white wheat], and flax. They also produce legumes, farm-killed organic beef, and other things worth paying attention to as they get their products to the local market.

This morning we tackled whole grain rye pancakes, as John had written about on his blog. Lovely, and I recommend cooking them for quite a bit longer than you would for other pancakes, as the crust that forms on the rye is truly delicious, and they don’t tend to overcook quickly. Quite the opposite. But I had promised John some whole grain pasta from his flour. My daughters would eat pasta with butter and salt exclusively if I allowed it. The potential for their pasta consumption to go 100% local and loaded with fiber and nutrients appealed to my paternal instincts.

First off, Gold Forest Grains‘ organic pasta flour is not what what I’m accustomed to working with. I normally use Divella Tipo ’00′ for pasta. It provides silky awesomeness and feels like air. This stuff, not surprisingly, has fiber. Density. It’s coarser than I’m used to and honestly, I thought I was in for a disaster when I tried to put it through the first thickness of my hand-crank pasta maker. Solution: start it by rolling with a rolling pin. From there, it went far better. I ended on both thickness settings 4 and 6 with equal success, and cut it into a fettucine width with no problem.

Oh. Recipe. Right. 250g flour, 2 Green Eggs & Ham duck eggs, and a couple pinches of salt. Bring it together, and let it rest for a few hours. That’s as ‘recipe’ as I get.

Bottom line on the pasta making: it’s a different beast. I’m going to be messing with a combo of Tipo ‘OO’ to try to regain some of the texture – due to fussy toddlers more than for adult palates. I’ll also be sifting out the bran to make a finer dough – I’ll reserve it for pancakes where it doesn’t have the same mouthfeel impact. I’ll admit I was relieved when the toddlers finished their bowls, as despite all my efforts, they are still fussy little kids, and having them pound back stuff that’s healthful and local is still an achievement. Success, but tempered with room for improvement.

Lastly, ever the cheapass, the economics are necessary to forever prove a point. Cost of flour: $1.32. Cost of eggs: $1.33. Total: $2.65. Would serve 5, or $0.53/head. For organic local food. Not cheap enough? Make the noodles with water, and get to $0.26/head. Point is, organic, local foods need not break the bank. It can be done.

9 Responses

  1. So, did you serve it with just butter and salt? It looks incredible! I love a toothsome pasta. My grandmother taught me how to make egg noodles with the same recipe! I have yet to make my own pasta with a machine. I have made some rolled and hand shaped stuff. I need a roller… some kind of machine and can’t decide which to get.

    53 cents a head!!!! This should be an article for the Edmonton Journal. Can you add a “tweet this” to your posts so I can get the short code on the address and get these tweeted?

    Where do you get normally use Divella Tipo ’00′ for pasta??? I am so upset I didnt get there again. I need these flours. I will e-mail him an order for next Thursday and just get there to pick it up!!! But, I need a 00 for making homemade phyllo and can’t locate any…
    Thanks for the “recipe” – you knew I’d be asking… I never use one, either – but need some frame of reference.

    Incredible post. I am just doing my Ciabatta – the very easy recipe. I finally bought a few small bags of flour at Planet O to tide me over until I can get this good local stuff – just today. Want to try your basic bread and a few others. Vanja is golfing in Phoenix this weekend so I have more time to just make and bake.
    And to go to the market in the am!
    :)
    valerie

  2. PS – that 00 flour is probably the stuff you got in BC last year… I am just hoping you got it somewhere here….

  3. Mike says:

    Those noodles do look very good. How exciting to have such a local source for your grains. We grew a bunch of wheat one year and grind it for pasta or bread upon occasion and it is a bit trickier to work with… but the flavor is so good. Unfortunately wheat does consume a lot of garden space so we will not grow it every year and thus use it sparingly. Same with our fresh ground corn for cornbread, very heavy but so full of flavor. I have never eaten a duck egg, but I hear they are very good…and rich. Enjoy those wonderful grains and eggs.:)

  4. Kevin says:

    Butter and salt indeed. The Italian Centre carries the Divella Tip 00, and has for years. It’s in a little blue bag, and more often than not they have it in stock. If you’ve never used it, I’m pretty sure you’ll be highly impressed. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

    And yeah, add a ‘tweet this’…hm. I’ll give it a shot. I still have to get an email to inbox functionality going to…

  5. Kevin says:

    Hi Mike – grains are indeed beyond the grasp of urban gardening for me, so having a local supply was a key piece to our eating-local-puzzle. Lucky you to have given it and corn a successful go!

  6. I was just at the Italian Centre Shop Yesterday – looked at their flours and saw no 00 – do you go to the South store? Maybe that is the problem. I knwo they have different products at each store. I will have to hit the downtown store.
    TANKS!!!!

  7. [...] Perennial Plate « Local Organic Pasta 29 [...]

  8. Greg says:

    Just making sure you have our mailing address. heh heh

  9. Pam says:

    If the pasta is a little too ‘whole wheaty’ try sifting it. I think they have the fine sieves at the Italian Center Shop. The Bosch Kitchen Center also used to have them. I sometimes grind my own flour and sift it for pasta. My mother-in-law and zia’s would add at least 1/2c of flour to the mix as GEH eggs are pretty big. The “Zia’s” like a really stiff dough…you can also put it in the fridge overnight and roll it in the morning.

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