ABC Lasagna and Egg-free Semolina Pasta (Recipe)

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Today, I’m sharing a “new” pasta dough recipe. It’s super simple and consists of only three ingredients: semolina, salt and water. Together, these ingredients make the easiest and silkiest pasta dough in Southern Italian style. It can be made into fun and nutritious meal, like the ABC lasagna shown above.

For the past few weeks, my partner and I worked on an intense study of food advertising and how it affects children’s diet, nutrition, behaviour and psychology from parents’ perspectives. One of the first things I did right after hitting the “submit” button was jump right back into the kitchen and test some new recipes.

So here’s how you make the pasta dough (serves 2):

In a bowl, stir 200 grams of semolina flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 100 grams of water. Keep stirring until the dough starts to come together. Empty it onto a baking sheet and knead well, about 10  minutes, adding flour if it’s sticky. It should come together into a nice, smooth dough. Let it rest for thirty minutes. Afterwards, roll with a pasta machine or rolling pin, folding the dough into thirds and adding flour as necessary.

Check out the tutorial video:

You can use a mixer instead, of course. The recipe is incredibly versatile. You can replace the water, for example, with blue butterfly pea water, spinach puree or mashed carrots.

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Semolina pasta usually works with a 1:2 ratio of liquid to semolina flour by weight. However, pasta dough is both erratic and forgiving. If it’s sticky, add flour. If it’s dry, add some liquid. It’s fascinating how the grainy cornmeal-esque flour turns into a smooth, “sensory” dough.

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“Kinetic Sand”
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Stretchy, like slime

This recipe, I feel, works very well with children and provides opportunities for “play and learning”. First of all, it’s hard to get the recipe “wrong”. By stirring it in a bowl first and then kneading it on a baking tray, the messiness is reduced. Of course, getting little fingers into the dough can be really fun too! Working with the pasta machine or with a rolling pin is really enjoyable and there are a lot of pasta shapes children can make. In Malaysian, semolina flour only costs RM3 a kilo, which is incredibly inexpensive.

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I especially had fun “playing” with alphabet cutters. (They were only RM6 when I bought them from the bakery supply store!) Now, it wouldn’t have been practical to make alphabet pasta for four people entirely by hand, but a nice topping for a baked lasagna or pie can be pretty fun to create with different “cookie” cutters. They can also be used to make imprints in cookies and cake decorations.

It was very fun soaking the butterfly pea flower (straight from the garden) in hot water and then using it to make the “blue tagliatelle”. Children will probably enjoy planting the easy-to-grow seeds and harvesting the blossoms for cooking activities and science experiments (they can be used as PH indicators).

 

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