Introduction to Red Pepper Pasta Dough (and other flavored pastas)

And many of you know, I make a lot of homemade pasta. For me, the process is very therapeutic and rewarding. However, even I sometimes get bored with plain pasta and thus, I began introducing vegetables to infuse color and flavor into my pasta dough. The two most popular flavors you will find in stores as well as in my kitchen are Spinach and Red pepper, but I have also made beets and pumpkin infused pasta dough. However, my favorite vegetable pasta of all is the roasted red pepper pasta. It has a subtle, smoky sweetness and a deep, rustic color that holds up really well to the boiling water. It’s a show piece of a pasta!

How to Make Red Pepper Pasta Dough

When you make a basic pasta dough, the recipe is a pretty basic blend of flour and egg. When you work with vegetable puree, this introduced a new “wet” ingredient so we must reduce the amount of egg and in most cases, increase the amount of flour simply because the vegetable puree does absorb more flour than egg does. Learning and applying that knowledge to each batch of pasta is the real challenge and why I would always recommend you start with making ad perfecting a basic, but delicious, pasta dough before working with vegetable infused pasta, such as red pepper pasta dough. (The pasta learning never ends- each batch teaches us something new!)

The key is draining and drying the vegetables

If you don’t know what a nut milk bag is then you are missing out. While it’s purpose is to make milk from nuts, its essentially a bag that drains liquid, sort of like a reusable cheesecloth. Its a total game changer if you often work with frozen spinach, but also a ton of other vegetables that contain extra moisture needed to be removed. In the case of making red pepper pasta or spinach pasta, the vegetables must be drained entirely to the point of dry, which is no easy task. Unless of course, you have a nut milk bag.

The first step to making red pepper pasta dough is to prepare the peppers. To do so, drain 1 jar of piquillo peppers on paper towels and then puree the peppers in a food processor until smooth. Then, use a nut milk bag to drain & squeeze out any excess liquid. Keep squeezing until all excess liquid has been removed. This will now be what you add to the flour to flavor and color the pasta dough.

Step 1: Blend drained peppers
Red pepper puree in a measuring cup
Step 2: Drain excess liquid until you have a pulp
Flour in a food processor with red pepper puree
Step 3: combine ingredients
blended dough ad pepper puree into pasta dough ball
Step 4: Make Dough using pulse
ball of red pepper infused pasta dough
Step 5: Wrap in plastic and set set aside
Step 6: Roll Pasta dough and cook to order!

Red Pepper Pasta Dough Recipe:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (225g)
  • .5 cup semolina (75g)
  • 1/2 cup pureed peppers, drained of all excess liquid
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • After mixing, added a dash more flour. 

Like all pasta dough, once combined and rolled into a delightful ball of dough, wrap tightly in plastic and let it sit for a minimum of half hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge. I find that with this particular pasta, I like to let it rest in the fridge for at least a few hours to let the floors really marry – it makes a difference. Roll & cook as you would with standard pasta dough.

How to Make Homemade Pasta
Making homemade pasta is equal parts science and soul. I can’t teach the soul part, but I can teach you a thing or two!

Pro Tips for Making Infused Pastas

  • Vegetable infused pasta doughs, especially red pepper pasta dough, are typically a wetter dough then a basic flour dough, so you MUST flouring the dough in between rolling numbers to prevent sticking and ripping. 
  • I started out making the Red pepper Raviolis in a jumbo ravioli tray, but the dough was too elastic and they sank too deep. That method went right out the window. The best ravioli option for this dough turned out to be using two round cookie cutters and forming the ravioli’s individually.

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