Eat the Rainbow: Make your own Pasta!
Updated: May 8
Looking for something to entertain your kids? Hungry? If you have flour and water you can make your own pasta! This tutorial will teach you how to make RAINBOW pasta from scratch! Making your pasta different colored is a great way to teach kids about eating a balanced diet full of essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s also a great way to sneak vegetables into a picky child’s meal, because I mean who doesn’t want to eat their favorite colored pasta that they made themselves? Teaching your youngster about the importance of eating a balanced diet is easy if you make it fun! Here are some of the ways we teach about "eating the rainbow" in the teaching garden, hopefully these will be helpful for you too!
Why do we want to Eat the Rainbow?
Our bodies need different vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. It is important to eat about 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but its also important to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. The reason for this is because different colored vegetables contain different types of nutrients and vitamins, if we only ate orange colored things all day long our bodies would be missing out on important nutrients that are in green or blue fruits and vegetables. If we eat lots of different colored fruits and vegetables every day we can help our body fight against diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. As a kid its especially important to eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables to make sure we grow up to be big, strong, healthy adults! Plus who doesn't love to eat colorful things! Below are some visuals which help show how different colored foods have different types of vitamins and nutrients, and what each of those colored foods to to keep our bodies running in tip top shape.
Its a good idea to remind students that not all colored foods are created equally. Ask them if they think a green skittle will have the same nutrients as a piece of spinach. Some foods like candy and other processed treats are made with artificial colors. This means they used a food dye that makes the food look a certain color but does not have any of the important nutrients or vitamins that naturally colored foods have. It would not be very healthy for us to eat a diet of just colorful candies but its OK to have a little bit every once in a while as a treat!
Lets Get Started!
Now that we understand all about why it is important to eat lots of different colors, we are going to show you how to make homemade pasta in whatever color you like best. Below we have created a tutorial on how to make orange pasta, but don't worry we will explain how to make whatever color you heart desires! First you need some ingredients. You will need...
1. Flour: any type of flour will work here! I used a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat, but you can substitute whatever you have on hand (with potentially varying results - I have not attempted with gluten free flours and I am not sure how that would turn out, but give it a try and let us know in the comments!). If you want to get really fancy you can use double zero flour. I recommend about 1.5 to 2 cups of flour per serving of pasta. For example, if you are making pasta for four people, you can use anywhere from 6-8 cups of flour. I would also recommend starting with small batches first until you get the hang of it, then you can start to work with more dough at a time.
2. Water: Yes, really, that is it! If you just use flour and water you will make a neutral colored pasta. Alternatively, you can sub in an egg or two to make an egg pasta dough. Generally its about 1/4 cup of water or one egg to 1 cup of flour. So for example, if you are making 4 servings of pasta with 8 cups of flour you would need about 2 cups of water or 8 eggs, BUT it is more important to go by how your dough feels rather than following these measurements exactly. More on this in the video below.
3. Additional Ingredients to add Color: Here are a few other options if you want to make different colors. Get creative here and use what you have on hand! The possibilities are endless. Some of the ingredients below will be ready to add directly to your water (like turmeric powder or tomato paste), while others will need to be blended in a food processor with a little bit of water first (like spinach or blueberries), others will need to be cooked before blending (like beets), and some will need to be brewed like a tea (butterfly pea flower or hibiscus tea). Use your best judgement and when all else fails, theres always google. Check out "Salty Seattle" on youtube or Instagram for some rainbow pasta inspiration!
RED: tomato paste, red bell peppers, beets, harissa, paprika or some combination of the those.
ORANGE: carrot, or mix any of the red ingredients with yellow ingredients.
YELLOW: turmeric powder or turmeric root.
GREEN: spinach, parsley, peas, kale, collard greens, really any green vegetable (the shade of green will depend on the type of vegetable you use here).
BLUE: purple cabbage, or butterfly pea flower.
PURPLE: blueberries, dragon fruit, beets.
PINK: beets, hibiscus tea.
Now that we have our ingredients sorted out, lets get to the fun part! Here I will be demonstrating how to make orange pasta, I have laid out my ingredients below.
First I will make my colored water, I will do this by adding turmeric powder and tomato paste to a bowl of water and whisking it together until combined.
Now stir stir stir!
Next you will create a mountain of flour on your surface.
Then you will create a well in your flour mountain. This is basically a little indentation where the water will go.
Next, you will pour your colored water or eggs into the well. Don't worry if some of the water spills out.
Now its time to make the dough. Watch this video for my technique!
Now that our dough is finished. We need to let the dough rest. This is important because it allows for the flour to really absorb the water, and it gives the gluten strands a chance to relax (everyone needs a chance to relax sometimes, lets give our dough a break). It is very important to cover your dough while it is resting, otherwise it will dry out and be hard to work with. I cover my dough with a plastic takeout container, but you can also use a clean dish towel, or plastic wrap.
While your dough is resting, you can take this time to look up some pasta shaping techniques! There are soOOOoooo many different shapes and ways to make pasta. I will show you how to make my favorite shape in the video below.
Now that we know how to make some shapes, its time to get to work!
It doesn't matter what your pasta shapes look like! They can be unique little balls of dough and they will still taste great. It helps to make all of the pasta shapes roughly the same size so that they cook at the same speed, but the COOLEST thing about homemade pasta is that it has a self-timer for cooking! The pasta will float to the top of the pot of water when it is fully cooked, so if your shapes aren't perfectly the same size the little ones will float up first and then the bigger ones will float up shortly after.
Here are all of the finished shapes, you can see that some are a little better looking than others but we don't judge our pasta by its looks! They are all beautiful in their own way and they will all taste just as delicious.
Now its time to cook!
1. Boil a large pot of water.
2. Add a GENEROUS amount of salt to the water, this will make your pasta taste better. Don't worry most of the salt will just go down the drain but if you don't salt the water your pasta will be rather bland.
3. Now is a good time to start heating up your sauce in a pan, the pasta will only take about 3 minutes to cook so you want to make sure you have a pan of hot oil and garlic or delicious tomato sauce simmering when you add your shapes to the water.
4.. Add your pasta shapes to the water. Be careful not to splash yourself with boiling water! Sometimes I like to gently drop the shapes in with a slotted spoon.
4. Give the pasta a little stir to prevent the shapes from sticking to each other and the bottom of the pot.
5. Bring the water back to a boil and keep an eye on your pasta, they will cook quickly!
6. Once your pasta starts floating to the top, use a spider kitchen tool or a slotted spoon to catch the floating pastas and transfer them to your sauce pan. If you don't have a slotted spoon or spider you can also wait until all of your pastas appear to be floating and strain the
pasta by pouring the contents of the pot into a strainer over the sink.
7. Let your pastas cook a little bit in the sauce (about 30 seconds to 1 minute) and then remove from heat. Season to taste and enjoy!!
I cooked my pasta with oil, garlic, thyme, and some red pepper flakes, it was magnificent!
Let us know if you make your own rainbow pasta in the comments!