Box of fancy candies? Cliché.
Chocolate covered strawberries? Done to death.
Conversation hearts? We're not in grade school anymore!
So what to do when you need a unique crowd pleasing... or date pleasing dessert, and you’re as noodle obsessed as I am?
I love noodles in ANY form! Pasta, ramen, soba, lasagna, rice noodles glass noodles, ravioli, even wontons and potstickers (I mean, they're kinda like ravioli). I have some form of dry noodle in my pantry at all times, so I always have the vehicle for a cheap and easy meal at home. While I love packaged dry noodles for their convenience, nothing beats making homemade pasta. The process of kneading a beautiful dough, then hand cranking out soft and silky pasta sheets is a kitchen catharsis that makes me picture the stories I heard of my great grandmother making fresh pasta for Sunday dinner (except she used a rolling pin instead of a machine, because the late Ann Dolce was hardcore like that). There is really nothing like making and eating fresh pasta and home, and for the last month, I've been on a roll with it… no pun intended!
I have my own standard vegan pasta dough recipe, which is 2 cups semolina flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, and ¾-1 cup water as needed. Whenever I want to make a flavored pasta, I will often add a flavoring to the water, like saffron or lemon zest. Or to step it up, I'll replace the water to a vegetable purée, such as spinach, roasted red peppers, or beets.
While pursuing the refrigerator for ingredients for a class at The Chopping Block, I saw a small bottle of raspberry purée, and it hit me: DESSERT PASTA! I decided to use strawberries, since I wouldn't have to worry about giant seeds. This recipe also took quite a bit of tinkering with the flour and sugar ratios, because I wanted to get the texture, flavor, color, and workability just right, but after practice, I got a good batch! This dough works great for both noodles and filled pasta.
Strawberry Pasta Dough
- 1½ cups fresh or frozen & thawed strawberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water, plus more as needed
Place all ingredients into a blender, and purée on high until smooth, adding more water as needed. Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer, and measure 1 cup for the pasta dough. Please note that you may not need to use all of the measured strawberry purée
Strawberry Pasta Dough
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ cups semolina
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- ¾-1 cup strawberry purée
- Optional, a few drops of red food coloring (if you leave this out, your dough will be a beautiful faded pink, but I like bright colors, so I added food coloring)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, semolina, and powdered sugar. Make a well into the middle of the bowl, and add oil, ¾ cup of the purée, and food coloring if using. Using a fork, gradually incorporate the surrounding flour into the purée, until you get a shaggy dough. If it’s still very dry or if there is lots of loose flour, add more purée.
Once you can form it into a very loose dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture is pliable but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes.
Once the dough is rested, divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Flatten each quarter into a flat disk. Using a pasta roller on the widest setting (which on mine, is 0). Once the dough has run through and formed a sheet, fold the sheet into thirds, and run through the same setting again. Turn the pasta roller to the next setting up, and run the sheet through, only once, and run once more through each setting until you receive the desired thickness. For my taste, I go to setting 5 on my pasta roller for noodles, and setting 6 for filled pastas.
When it’s time to cook the pasta, bring a pot of salted and sweetened water to a rolling boil (About 1 large handful of salt and sugar per 4 quarts of water). Add pasta, and cook until the pasta is floating, about 2-3 minutes for noodles, and 3-4 minutes for filled pasta.
Fill this pasta with anything, or make it into noodles with any sauce. With this batch of dough, I made fettuccine with sweet vanilla bean & lemon cream sauce, and a cheesecake filled ravioli with a chocolate hazelnut sauce… all vegan of course!
Whether you are looking for an impressive & unique dessert to finish off a beautiful meal with your valentine, or you are treating yourself (because let's face it, you're pretty awesome), pop open a bottle of bubbles, light some candles, and give this strawberry pasta a try. Lady and the Tramp re-enactment optional.
Want more vegan date options? Try our Vegan Voyage: Italian Trattoria class coming up later this month at Lincoln Square or Vegan Brunch at the Merchandise Mart. We also have a ton of fun Valentine's Day themed cooking classes over the next week so you can celebrate over a beautiful meal that you've made with your loved one.