Introduction: Nerikomi Pasta

Picture of Nerikomi Pasta

For our New Year dinner I wanted to create something special. Buying expensive food is easy and less impressive than something that requires a lot of work and patience. At first I wanted to make su filindeu, a pasta from Sardinia only 3 women are left to know how to make them. This fact gave it an entry on the Ark of Taste, a list of endangered heritage foods (and a very small wikipedia entry about itself). But I felt humble when I was unable to drag the pasta dough 2 additional times after reaching ramen strength. I had to find something else and got some inspiration when I saw a plate made with the Nerikomi technique. The japanese word literally translates as kneading (練り込み) and describes a way to give colour patterns to pottery not by painting the finished object in the end, but buy marbling and stacking different coloured clays at the beginning.

As I have used coloured pasta before, my goal was to create something similar that didn't look like an accident. In this instructable I will show you how to make coloured pasta and what you can do with it. There are several failed experiments which could give others an inspiration.

  1. Introduction
  2. Coloured pasta
  3. Rolling pasta
  4. Shaping pasta
  5. Experiments
  6. Final project

Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients:

Picture of Equipment and Ingredients:

Equipment:

I will only use white flour for the pasta to achieve better results for the colours. There are many recipes available that I found, the one that I will use to calculate the proportions is the same from the Pasta Making Class and has following ingredients:

  • 350 g flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ tablespoon salt

Serves 4 as main course or 6 as side dish. To colour the pasta I used:

  • Saffron
  • Tumeric
  • Tomato paste
  • Squid ink
  • Spinach
  • Cocoa

Step 2: Pasta Maker:

Picture of Pasta Maker:

The pasta maker used is an Imperia with 6 different settings. In the list of used equipments you saw the entry for a table, because you have to fasten the machine to it. The Imperia has a slot in the side of the machine and comes with a special clamp, insert the clamp in the slot and screw it against the edge of the table. This way you can use the machine without having to hold it down. The highest setting is 6, seen in the secound picture, and should be used at the beginning, from there you go through each setting until you have reached either 2 or 1. The lowest setting 1 can only be achieved if you worked correctly in the previous steps, otherwise you can start over and try again. If the dough is too wet and sticks to the machine, stop immediately and add more flour. Clean the machine with a brush or you will have unwanted dough pieces from previous usage like in the third picture. Do not wash the pasta maker with water, always clean it dry!

The Imperia comes with 2 attachable cutters for fettuccine and spaghetti, which I will use for different experiments and shapes. In the following explanations I will call fettuccine pasta: strands, and spaghetti pasta: strings.

Step 3: No Pasta Maker?

Picture of No Pasta Maker?

If you don't have a pasta maker you can use cutting boards of different heights to get an even dough. Ensnare the dough between 2 cutting boards of the same height on your working place and use the rolling pin to roll the dough flat. Then use 2 cutting boards of a smaller height to make the dough even thinner like in picture 2. To create stripes you probably can use one of those rolling pins like in picture 3, although I never got them to work to slice pasta dough and only use them for embossing. Any pizza knife, (expendable) pasta wheel cutter or just a cook's knife will do.

Step 4: Science of Pasta:

Picture of Science of Pasta:

What is the most annoying thing when you have a hot chocolate? Lumps of cocoa that did not dissolve in the milk. A dry powder did not dissolve in a liquid. When making pasta we try to dissolve a liquid in dry powder, so we have to prevent any lumps as well (picture 2). This is done by kneading and folding the dough many times. Folding the dough lets the lumps emerge to the surface and encounter with other parts of the dough, effectively making them disappear. The pictures 3 and 4 show the result of a dough that is homogenous. Now the important part that turns a powder with some liquid into a dough is gelation. It occurs when large molecules from a state like a ball of yarn turn into a weaving like a scarf. There are 2 different types of gelation in food, when proteins unfold and the connections which held the ball of yarn together are now interconnected with the counterparts of another protein. The secound type is the sticking of carbohydrates together with a binding agent. In pasta the carbohydrates are starch, which can swell to 30 times its original volume in the presence of water and heat. This accumulation of water reduces the ratio of carbohydrates in the pasta from 75% down to 31%. If you cook 100grams of dry pasta it will increase the weight to 100grams * 75/31 = 242grams. And when there is enough water in the pasta to make it swim on top, that is when it is ready.

Starch is made of amylopectin and amylose. These are the important parts of your pasta because amylopectin is sticky and keeps the pasta together while amylose has the opposite nature and binds to the oil in sauces. Both are fixed in a network of gelatinised proteins which come either from egg or from durum wheat. Without the proteins the amylose can float away from your pasta and no sauce will stick to it (pasta without proteins is therefor used in soups). This is why we use wheat flour for our pasta which contains 75% starch and 13% protein (the rest is fiber) with eggs. We have to consider all the aspects of gelatinisation, water absorption and paste viscosity, if we want to change a recipe or create something new.

Step 5: Cooking Pasta

Picture of Cooking Pasta

We learned in the last step that cooking pasta is actually about hydration, not about heating. The maximum temperature needed for the swelling of starch in your pasta is 85°C. Water boils at 100°C, if you add more heat, some water will just become supercritical and turn to steam while the remaining water stays at 100°C. Because of this, it is actually counter-productive if your pasta is boiling over. It is absolutely sufficient to turn down the heat on a low setting after the water starts boiling and cover the pot with a lid.

Then why does fresh pasta need only 2 minutes to cook, while dried pasta take a much a longer time? First of all fresh pasta still has some water in it, the starch molecules are quicker able to add more water molecues. Also, when pasta is extruded through a die, the pressure creates heat and thereby coat the coarse wheat. This procedure is called pastification and it blocks starch hydration (imbibition). The shape of the pasta creates differences in the active parts for water penetration and active parts for gelatinisation inside of it. Therefor cooking time of fresh pasta can vary to 1.5 up to 3 minutes.

Step 6: Adding Salt

Picture of Adding Salt

Let us start with the biggest misconception about why you should add salt when the water is boiling. The temperature is not the reason. At normal altitude, adding a spoon of salt into 1 liter of water changes the temperature at the 2nd digit behind the comma. It takes 200 grams of salt in 1 liter of water to have a temperature change of 5°C or to raise the boiling point by 2°C. Salt can cause corrosion. If you own a car you probably know the damages road salt can do. Now if salt is added at the beginning of boiling water, it will actually fall to the ground of the cooking pot. The dissolving salt has now the choice to either be engulfed between water molecules, or have a reaction with the cooking pot. Since the cooking pot is on the cooking plate getting hot with the highest setting, and the water is still cold with a much lower energy, there is a chance the salt first reacts with the cooking pot. If you add the salt when the water is boiling, it won't even touch the ground of the cooking pot because it is dissolved immediately between the high energised water molecules. It takes years though for any corrosion in the cooking pot to become visible.

The secound misconception is that we add salt for the taste. Imagine you have 3 water droplets on a window and you use your finger to merge them to each other until you have a drop that runs down. On a molecular level this is called the Ostwald Ripening. In the cooking water the salt is added to prevent starch granules in the pasta to merge with each other instead of swelling during hydration. Because if they merge the pasta lose elasticity and the sugar taste of the starch is less accessible for our tongue, making the pasta taste bad and feel clumsy. For this fact you can allegedly never add too much salt to the boiling water, the pasta will only taste salty if there was too much salt in the dough.

Salt water from the ocean is said to be the best pasta water, but that is probably not available to every cook (or clean enough). Try 2 teaspoons per liter of water.

Step 7: Pasta and Diabetes

Picture of Pasta and Diabetes

Starchy food has a high glycaemic index (GI) because the glucose is absorbed almost as quickly is if it was in a sugary drink. But there has been research about a phenomenon that reheated pasta has a low GI. The starch is reorganised when it is cooked, chilled and then reheated for another time. Our digestive enzymes now need a much longer time to break them down or even fail. The shape of the pasta also has a big influence on the GI, spaghettis are at 40 while ravioli are almost twice at high with a value of 70. Cooking spaghettis al dente can keep the GI very low while cooking for too long will increase starch gelatinisation and raise it.

If you have a big dinner party it is always a good idea to include a reply card with your invitation that asks for allergies and diabetes (the 3 pictures above show a way to shape tortiglioni (or rigatoni) by hand, since I have no diabetes and no relevant pictures).

Let's start making pasta now.

Step 8: Pink Pasta

Picture of Pink Pasta

On Serious Eats I found a recipe with beet coloured pasta:

  • 10 ounces all purpose flour
  • 5 yolks from 5 large eggs
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 4 tablespoons beet purée
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

This amount serves 5 people as a main dish, so I had to break it down for 1 person:

  • 120 grams flour, sifted.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of beet juice

I still added an egg for stacking the dough with other colours, and because the pickled beet has a pH of 3 while the egg reduces the sour taste with its pH of 8. For further reference, Orange juice has a pH of 3.5 and Wine has a pH of 4. If you want to have orange flavour but don't want to add an egg to your dough, then use orange zest instead of juice. The colour of the beet pasta can be brightened with white vinegar. Salt was already in the beet juice.

Step 9: Flour Volcano

Picture of Flour Volcano

First we sift the 120 grams of flour and create a little volcano, add a knife point of salt and 1 tablespoon of beet juice. Now usually you will read in pasta recipes that you should whisk the eggs inside of the volcano with a fork. As I use a silicon baking mat I will use a spoon to prevent any damage. The shape of the flour volcano adds continuously more flour to the mixture when just whisking in the center. Now here comes the reason why I use a baking mat instead of a traditional wooden working surface, you can just lift one side or corner of the mat and the flour will fall into the wet mixture like in the fifth picture.

Step 10: Kneading

Picture of Kneading

After a while it becomes impossible to whisk with the spoon anymore, then the real kneading with the hands begins. Whenever you feel a wet spot in the dough, put some of the remaining flour on it and roll the dough. Then make a flat disc like in picture 3, add flour like in picture 4 and roll it to a ball again like in the following pictures. Repeat until no more flour will cling to the dough.

Step 11: Adding Water

Picture of Adding Water

In many pasta recipes you find 1 tablespoon of water as an ingredient before the kneading. I use a different method, the water will be added with a spray bottle at the end. The dough is already a very compact ball but some of the flour left on the mat does not cling to it. Spray some water on the mat and roll the dough through it. If you knead the doughball around the mat and cleaned it, then your dough is probably smooth and can be stored in plastic wrap in the fridge. Wait at least 30 minutes before you work with it again to let the liquids inside spread out evenly.

Step 12: Orange Pasta

Picture of Orange Pasta

On Serious Eats was also a recipe for orange pasta:

  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 5 yolks from 5 large eggs
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Other alternatives for orange colours are carrots or butternut squash. Tomato seed oil is loaded with carotenoid antioxidants and therefor also a good and healthy alternative. I used:

  • 120 grams of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato extract
  • 1 egg

Again no salt since it is in the extract. Twirl it, knead it, wrap it.

Step 13: Green Pasta

Picture of Green Pasta

The Serious Eats recipe for green pasta:

  • 10 ounces all purpose flour
  • 5 yolks from 5 large eggs
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 4 tablespoons spinach purée
  • 1 teaspoon salt

My partition:

  • 120 grams flour
  • 1 tablespoon spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Although I drained the spinach the green pasta was too wet to use for my project. Likewise the spinach strings prevented a precise cutting of the dough and I decided not to use any green dough.

Step 14: Black Pasta

Picture of Black Pasta

Serious Eats' recipe for black pasta:

  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 4 yolks from 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons squid ink
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Squid ink is perfect for black pasta. It doesn't change the taste very much, except that you need to adjust the amount of salt or even leave it out completely. The package insert said 1 gram per 100 gram food so I picked the whole package:

  • 240 grams flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 grams squid ink

Step 15: Brown Pasta

Picture of Brown Pasta

Chocolate pasta is used for desserts with vanilla sauce and fruits. But chocolate is regularly used in chili con carne and in some sicilian pasta sauces. A recipe that I found was:

  • 200 grams flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt

My adaption was:

  • 100 grams flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The cocoa powder was dissolved in the olive oil which was then whisked with the egg. And again, twirl it, knead it, wrap it.

Step 16: Yellow Pasta

Picture of Yellow Pasta

You might say that this dough is redundant because pasta is yellow by default. But if it doesn't contain any colour in it, then a coloured dough nearby could discolour your uncoloured dough.

  • 120 grams of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon saffron

In a cup, dissolve tumeric and saffron in a spoon of olive oil. Sprinkle this into the flour volcano with an egg. Twirl it, knead it, wrap it.

Step 17: White Pasta

Picture of White Pasta

In the Pasta Making Class you can find a recipe for egg-free white dough.

  • 350 grams flour
  • 178 ml room temperature water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

I used 2 thirds of this and I am sure you can do the math yourself. Now the interesting thing about egg-free pasta is that you can roll it to thinner sheets and it is generally more fexible while still sticky. Have a look at ramen making techniques if you want to improve your kneading like in picture 2 to 3. And if you manage to make filindeu, you have an entry for the pasta challenge for yourself.

Oh and maybe I have made the colours in a wrong succession, because even if I cleaned everything throughly after each step, there was a little grain of black dough suddenly in the white dough. Stamp it out and fold the dough if you run into the same issue.

Step 18: Rolling the Dough

Picture of Rolling the Dough

After resting the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cut off some part from the dough that you want to roll in the pasta maker. Wrap the rest again and put it back into the fridge. Use the highest setting with the rolls the farthest apart. Fold the dough in half like in the secound picture and roll it again. Then fold in the other 3 sides like in picture 4 and make sure there is no air cought in the folds. Then roll it again and now you have a rectangle to work with. Use a lower setting and roll the dough again. Always make sure you have a rectangle because otherwise the dough will be skewed in the rolling process and this creates unwanted folds. Then you can start over again because you can't use an asymetric dough in the cutters.

Step 19: The Dough Is Too Sticky

Picture of The Dough Is Too Sticky

When your dough is too sticky and there are remnants on the rollers of your pasta maker, spread some flour on your workplate and make an oblique stroke with the dough through the flour. Just dragging the dough in one direction will amass the flour at the beginning and not spread it out evenly. The dough in the example is of course small enough to be covered in flour by just laying into it, but with a very long sheet you probably had not seen any difference.

Step 20: Storing Pasta

Picture of Storing Pasta

The final project requires 6 different coloured doughs, they need to be stored in the meantime while you prepare the remaining doughs. For a short time, place ready-made dough on a plate with flour. Medium time storage, lay the sheets or strands on clean kitchen towels or cutting boards. For a long time use plastic wrap because we want compounds that stick together not dried pasta.

Remember, I picked twice as much squid ink as needed and there are still some white spots in picture 4. So I decided to store the black dough by seperating it with a cutting board and not white flour to not weaken the black colour.

Step 21: Shaping Orecchiette

Picture of Shaping Orecchiette

Orecchiette are small ears according to their name, and easy to make. Traditionally they are made without eggs but with hard flour. There are 2 procedures to shape them. Both start with a thick roll of 2cm or 1" that is sliced into coin sized pasta. By dragging the dough on the table with the round shaped tip of a table knife you get a thinner inside. With some training you will even be able to create waves on the surface of the other side which increase the amount of sauce sticking to the pasta. The missing dough on the red mat gives a hint on the progress of actually moving the knife.

To give it a similar texture without a knife, place it into the palm of one hand and then press it with the thumb of your other hand. The center will also be thinner and with some swivels of the hand you are holding the dough with, it gets an even better texture.

In the last 3 pictures you can see what happens if you give too much pressure on the roll or knife.

Step 22: Shaping Fusi Istriani

Picture of Shaping Fusi Istriani

The green pasta dough was cancelled for the final project, instead I used it for one of my favorite pasta, the fusi istriani. These pasta are perfect to bring a lot of sauce into your mouth and then spread it everywhere. If you want more information on Fusi Istriani have a look at the Encyclopedia of Pasta from Oretta Zanini De Vita.

Cut triangles of 4.5 cm or 1.75 inches. The weakness of green coloured dough was obvious, some of the spinach fibres were not cut on the first try and thereby deformed the shape of the pasta during manual separation. Take a triangle, place a chopstick or a tool into the center and fold one tip after the other on top of it. Done. For the explanation I made another version in extra size.

After cooking it was obvious that the used amount of spinach was needed for the green colour, but inhibiting the usage in the cutters of the pasta maker.

Step 23: Experiment: Weaving Pasta

Picture of Experiment: Weaving Pasta

Still thinking about the filindeu pasta I tried weaving 2 different coloured pasta. An explanation how to weave can be found here.Then I put a kitchen towel upon the weaving and pressed it together with a rolling pin. The result was just as disappointing, even more when I thereafter rolled it through the pasta maker.

Step 24: Experiment: Zebra Fettuccine

Picture of Experiment: Zebra Fettuccine

What if the pasta wasn't woven but striped? Let's try this with the fettuccine attachement of my pasta maker. Looking at the picture you might think these are tagliatelle. They are very similar and only Italians care about the difference. Fettuccine are from the central regions of Italy, and tagliatelle are from the north of Italy. The latter are cooked in broth and their size is 5 - 7mm, while Fettuccini have 5,9 - 7,8mm. Someone probably wrote an opera about this.

First I made a sheet of white dough and placed black spaghetti in stripes on it. Then I layed a clean dish cloth upon it and pressed a rolling pin firmly on the dough. The combined sheet through the fettuccine cutter gave impressive striped pasta. But during the cooking process roughly every 20th stripe fell off.

Step 25: Experiment: Colour Gradient

Picture of Experiment: Colour Gradient

For polymer clay there is a technique to get a colour gradient by cutting triangles of different colours and then rolling these together lengthwise. The triangle shape guarantees a progressive increase of the following colours. To make it short, it didn't work because either the colour change was unrecognisable like in picture 2 or they wouldn't mix if you knead in just 1 direction like in picture 4. A colour gradient seemed to be too much effort for the potential.

Step 26: Experiment: Stacking

Picture of Experiment: Stacking

The brown pasta was brittle and I needed to find a way to make use of it. Using the fettuccine cutter, stacking the strands into a roll showed me another possibility for making orecchiette pasta with different colours. But for testing with only a few strands of brown pasta. The size and shape of the sliced strands inside the coin was not stable, they would have to be framed. The pasta itself was stable and could hold a lot of sauce.

Step 27: Experiment: 2 Colour Fettuccine

Picture of Experiment: 2 Colour Fettuccine

With sheets of 2 different colours I created fettuccine. Layed on each other, maybe with a drizzle of water between, then through the rolls of the pasta maker and later through the attached cutter. The 2 colours are not distinguishable after adding sauce, there needs to be a higher contrast. A black and yellow fettuccine in a white sauce with green vegetables looks like an option.

Step 28: Experiment: 2 Colour Orecchiette

Picture of Experiment: 2 Colour Orecchiette

Inspired by African trade beads I decided to roll a sheet of orange and yellow dough together into a primary stage for orecchiette. Slice it as usual and press the dough a little more to connect the layers with each other. Served with leftovers from Christmas they were a great addition to red cabbage and roasted duck. They kept their shape and colour while the different layers gave them an improved orecchiette texture.

Step 29: Pasta Vongole - Clams Pasta

Picture of Pasta Vongole - Clams Pasta

Then I thought about making the orecchiette with black and white dough to create a seashell apperance. Lay the dough on each other and roll them together. If needed a drizzle of water can help them to stick to each other, especially at the end of the roll. Slice the roll, press the coins in your palm with your thumb and you have pasta that looks like a seashell. They are probably a great addition to a dinner with clams, a recipe would be:

  • 1 kilogram clams
  • 400 grams pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

This experiment was actually a success to me, but I thought I could achieve more and made further attempts.

Step 30: Experiment: Panda Pasta

Picture of Experiment: Panda Pasta

After the last experiment I tried to depict a panda face with the black and white dough. With 3 small rolls and 3 strings the 2 eyepatches, nose, mouth and 2 ears should have been portrayed. But it looked more like a ghost face or a banshee. Probably with 1 white string inside each of the 2 eyepatch rolls and all 3 big rolls in an elliptical shape the outcome looked a lot better. Maybe even a pink stripe as a tongue inside of the mouth roll which itself should be moved more to the outside. If you served this result to children and called it panda pasta the reply was:" THIS IS NOT A PANDA YOU (insert sandbox insult here)!"

Step 31: Experiment: 3 Colour Pasta / Patriotic Pasta

Picture of Experiment: 3 Colour Pasta / Patriotic Pasta

Then I wanted to experiment with pasta of 3 colours. As a German, I used the colours of our ensign. From the darkness of suppression, the black, through bloody battles, the red, to the light of freedom, the yellow. As all the colours should share an equal significance, I did not adapt the sizes to their circumference relation. The pink dough was coloured with beet juice and its consistency is a bit more moist than the yellow from tumeric powder or the black from squid ink concentrate. Since the pink was between the 2 others, the 3 doughs combined very well into one compound. But after cooking the colour pink looked washed out while the 2 other colours were fresh. Therefor juice coloured pasta needs to be stabilised, or I mash the beet itself and add white vinegar.

In the last picture you can see how I stacked 3 strands upon each other but scrubbed the plan.

Oh and if you want a natural blue colour, don't try blueberries, use red cabbage cleaned with baking soda.

Step 32: Preparation:

Picture of Preparation:

In the end, it took me altogether 4 hours of preparation for all the needed doughs. While some dough is resting in the fridge for 30 minutes, you can make another batch and then swap. Combined I needed for a small course for 20 people:

  • 1500 gramms of flour
  • 16 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • colour mixtures
  • patience

It is helpful to have a 2nd fridge in the basement for a dinner party. The fourth picture is from the leftovers of the preparations the next day. We didn't have any others.

Step 33: Project: 6 Colour Orecchiette

Picture of Project: 6 Colour Orecchiette

After gathering the results for all my experiments I came to the conclusion what I wanted to do for our New Years dinner. Orecchiette with 6 colours that looked like a blossom. In fact there is a pasta supposed to look like a flower, my created pasta could then be called a Fioricchiette! The center of the flower should be yellow while some black dough characterizes the different parts of carpel and stamens. Any other colour than black had not been visible either after cooking or after adding sauce. The petals of the flower are wrapped by white dough, while the inside is orange and the outside is pink. The tip is a brown pasta string to mimic a bilateral shape of the corolla. Lay an orange strand at the long side of a white pasta sheet, then a pink one, a brown string and another pink strand. As the pink colour is supposed to be outside I added 2 strings because of the higher circumference. Fold the white sheet at the brown string and put the pink strands on each other, pressing everything slightly together. Cut excessive white dough and wrap the component for later. There are 16 flower petals around the center, some remaining pink and orange stripes are added for stability while the whole thing is wrapped in a sheet of white dough. Roll the wrap several times on your working surface to assure everything is sticking to each other.

Step 34: Slicing the Roll

Picture of Slicing the Roll

Roll the combined dough in a dish towel to spread the pressure when holding it with your hand and to prevent any deformation. Use a big knife, do not put any pressure on it. Let the weight of the knife do the work, just move the blade back and forth for the whole length. Make thin slices as if they were coins. The inside is maybe not connected yet to all the pasta petals, pressing the slices into an orecchiette will fix that. Place them between your fingertips and press all parts into one disc. Then place them in your palm and press your thumb into the mid to achieve the orecchiette shape. For storage put them on a plate that is dusted with some flour and cover them with plastic wrap.

Step 35: Degustation:

Picture of Degustation:

Spaghetti pasta are served with a meat based sauce in a ratio of 50:50 sauce:pasta. Pasta served with pesto should have a ratio of 30:70. I cooked the pasta in salt water, drained and tossed them in melted butter. Together with a pesto that gives 100 grams oil for 1000 grams of pasta, it is enough to make them glisten. The finished nerikomi orecchiette were served with basil pesto, the recipe can be found here. The qualities of the pasta are described in the following categories: springness, cohesiveness, chewiness, adhesiveness and hardness.

Springness is measured by pressing the pasta between teeth and tongue and checking if it returns to its original shape. The orecchiette shape is steady and distributes the pesto very good inside the mouth.

Cohesiveness is measured as how the different strands disintegrate while chewing. After cooking the orecchhiette the components fusioned and are no longer individual, chewing doesn't disintegrate the strands.

Chewiness is measured in how many chews it takes for swallowing. The orecchiette were ready after chewing a minimum of 4 times, but up to 8 times were enjoyable.

Adhesiveness is measured by pressing the pasta against the palate and trying to remove it with the tongue. It was pretty easy and no one would choke on them.

Hardness was measured by the force it takes to chew the pasta and they were perfect.

Step 36: Enjoy Your Meal!

Picture of Enjoy Your Meal!

The nerikomi pasta was cooked within 2 minutes and rised to the surface. Drained and tossed in green pesto their colours looked fresh and tasty. The green with the flowers were mimicking a wildflower meadow in the spring, a theme for our New Years dinner. I am sorry there is some steam visible in the picture, but I had to take care of my hungry guests and my camera isn't that professional. When you serve a self-created food and without exception all jaws drop while they close their eyes after the first bite then all the work was worth the effort.

I hope the instructable was helpful and complete. English is not my first language (british English) and it wasn't always easy to describe complex contexts. If you have any questions or need help to make your own nerikomi orecchiette, feel free to ask. For posting a picture of your own nerikomi pasta I can give you a code for 3 months of premium while I have some left.

This instructable is an entry in the current pasta challenge and if you liked it, you can support me with a click on the red "Vote!" button top right. Thank you.

Comments

Dwargh (author)2017-05-11

Sieht echt geil aus!
Mal schauen, ob ich bald Zeit finde, das nachzumachen!

Looks really awesome!
Let's see if I can spare some time soon, to recreate that!

rainingfiction (author)2017-04-02

This is so cool!

Meglymoo87 (author)2017-02-09

We all knew you were gonna win a Grand Prize! I'm glad the judges agreed :D

Joerg Engels (author)Meglymoo872017-02-12

Where was your entry for the secound one?

Meglymoo87 (author)Joerg Engels2017-02-13

Lol, I told you I wasn't going to enter. But it's all good, there are always a lot of other contests to enter. ;) I'm just really happy you won!

sabu.dawdy (author)2017-02-10

I can't stop watching ur pasta honestly

Joerg Engels (author)sabu.dawdy2017-02-12

Made a new one for the Valentine's day.

VespressoCooking (author)2017-02-08

Congratulations! Your project is simply amazing! :)

Joerg Engels (author)2017-02-08

Thanks to all who voted for me and made this happen!

nanaverm (author)2017-01-25

This is the millefiori of pasta! And your instructions taught me a lot.

Joerg Engels (author)nanaverm2017-01-28

I wish step 25 had worked, because the colour gradient is exactly from
polymer clay forming techniques. But for a cocktail party I managed to
create lemonlike pasta.

MarkS366 (author)2017-01-08

Wow....just.....wow. I won't ever make this because a) i do hardware and software stuffs b) wayyyy above my cooking (and patience level) and c) it would not come close to what you made. I applaude your passion. It comes through in your writing. Great job.

Joerg Engels (author)MarkS3662017-01-08

I'm a software programmer for 34 years, in fact I just released an app that teaches little kids to combine letters into words through a game. If I can do this, you can do this as well. Thank you for your compliments.

MarkS366 (author)Joerg Engels2017-01-08

Cool. Software dev as well. Currently on year 12 at Microsoft. Where are you at?

Joerg Engels (author)MarkS3662017-01-18

Oh I didn't see your replay. I'm on my own. This is the app that I just made: SNAbaKEby

Meglymoo87 (author)2017-01-17

Oh my word...this is both the longest and most educational ible ever! And i mean that in the best way possible :) it's amazing the treasury of knowledge you have on the subject of pasta! I know you hate to hear it, but this should definitely win the Grand Prize. It IS the pasta contest in one fatal swoop! I was contemplating entering, but I most humbly bow out because this ible will have my jaw to the ground for quite some time...Lol. thank you for sharing this ible with the world, and you have my utmost respect and congrats! Blessings :)

Joerg Engels (author)Meglymoo872017-01-18

I'm not letting you get away with it. There are 2 Grand Prizes, 1 for an instructable of a recipe with pasta and 1 for an instructable how to make pasta. And then let's see how far we get in the Epilog contest.

KelleBelle (author)2017-01-08

Oh my gosh, Joerg! This is probably the best Instructable I've ever seen! Not only is it visually a great project, but your level of detail and the scientific explanation of what happens in each step from preparation to cooking is fantastic! It's very much like Alton Brown and how he would explain techniques and procedures on the old Good Eats show. Your explanation into why and when salt is to be added to the pasta water alone is something that will improve my pasta cooking. Thank you! I voted for you and hope you win! If not, send this to Alton Brown, I think he'd appreciate it!

Joerg Engels (author)KelleBelle2017-01-14

Thank you. I got the science part from an online course at Harvard. If you are interested, it starts again on the 18th this month, we could start an instructable learning group:

https://www.edx.org/course/science-cooking-haute-cuisine-soft-harvardx-spu27-1x

WUVIE (author)2017-01-09

I can't even imagine this not winning the grand prize. I am beyond wowed.
Congratulations on a tremendous Instructable.
(Pushes bottom jaw back into place)

Joerg Engels (author)WUVIE2017-01-14

Oh please don't say that. It may actually have the opposite effect on the judges. And if I gave someone the motivation to learn how to make filindeu, then we all gained a profit from that.

testmonkey (author)2017-01-12

Awesome beautiful............words cannot describe!!!

Thank You for this.

Joerg Engels (author)testmonkey2017-01-14

Well, thank you!

Kawaiifelt (author)2017-01-11

Nice work! That is very unique and creative.

Joerg Engels (author)Kawaiifelt2017-01-14

It is just the beginning. And thank you.

RecipeRemix (author)2017-01-10

Wow! I learned so much about pasta making. Awesome works and great job.

Joerg Engels (author)RecipeRemix2017-01-14

Thank you.

CelioS (author)2017-01-09

Astonishing, a real instructional piece on pasta ! Thanks a lot!

I had to try it , surely i will not gonna make a piece of artwork like yours. Congrats from Brazil, please keep sharing your art!

Joerg Engels (author)CelioS2017-01-14

Greetings to Brazil from Germany, thank you.

surethingdollface (author)2017-01-08

This was a magnificent and incredibly fascinating instructable to read. The detail and effort put into this entire pasta project was certainly a success (even if not all pastas turned out how you wanted). Thank you for writing this up; it has definitely sparked some inspiration!

Thank you, I hope to see your entry in the challenge!

ztó (author)2017-01-08

Very nice work!

Joerg Engels (author)ztó2017-01-14

Thank you!

silkier (author)2017-01-08

Truly a labour of love this. I only hope your dinner guests appreciated the level of dedication you put into this.

I think the only thing I can say about this is - WOW!

Off to vote for you now.

Joerg Engels (author)silkier2017-01-08

They did like I mentioned before. The users on Reddit on the other hand ..

Kyench (author)2017-01-08

Wow Joerg, the time and effort that you put in this instructable shows your dedication to this art. And your english is perfectly fine, we did all start with British English. :) The Science of Pasta information alone was valuable enough for this instructable. Definitely voted for you in the challege!!!!

Joerg Engels (author)Kyench2017-01-08

Thank you, I mentioned the British English because I write colour and not color or use an S where people from the USA use a Z.

BayRatt (author)2017-01-06

Wow Joerg! That was a fun instructable! I've never made pasta before, but I've learned a lot! And your nerikomi pasta is beautiful! Almost too pretty to eat.

Joerg Engels (author)BayRatt2017-01-07

Thank you for your nice words. I posted a picture of the final result on reddit and the users did not call it beautiful. It was compared to a petri dish, a cross section of a snake and a "natural exit". Not going to post there again ..

dianekallal (author)Joerg Engels2017-01-08

Your English is very good, better than most! Your pasta is beautiful, a work of art made with love. Definitely a winner!

Joerg Engels (author)dianekallal2017-01-08

Thank you for your motivating words.

robyswan (author)2017-01-08

you are an amazing person. your creativity and dedication are inspiring and, in my case, humbling! thanks

Joerg Engels (author)robyswan2017-01-08

Thank you. Thank you.

MillerI (author)2017-01-08

Wow. That was a lot of work. Thank you for a brilliant instructable
that included a science lesson in pasta! :-) I think I'll stick with
bi- or tricolor noodles as the nerikomi looked like bloodshot eyeballs
to me :-}

Joerg Engels (author)MillerI2017-01-08

Well thank you, that was one of the comments on Reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/food/comments/5mglo0/homemadeorecchiette_pasta_made_from_6_different/

NZcoffeeprincess (author)2017-01-07

holy cow, I just learned a lot- that was fascinating. I love your final colorful pasta, it's so impressive, and I also loved the fun zebra fettuccine.
thank you for taking so much time to write a lot too, it was really interesting going.

Thank you, some of these will definitely be used for birthday parties.

Hannewanja (author)2017-01-07

This looks awesome! Very well done. It will take me years of practice to come anywherr near this kind of style!

Joerg Engels (author)Hannewanja2017-01-07

I started 1 month ago. You can do this as well if you use the simple introduction from the pink pasta. Or you take the Pasta Making Class. I have sent you a code for 3 months premium.

Cherzer (author)2017-01-07

I'm so inspired by this! I'm going to have to dust off my old pasta roller that I haven't touched in over 10 years.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Polymath and idiot. Mostly idiot.
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