Flavored and Colored Pasta

Generally the color of the pasta is a result from the flavoring agent used in the pasta. The taste from the flavoring agents is most often fairly mild. Shown below are some of the most common flavoring agents and how to add them to your homemade pasta.

Flavors and Colors of Pasta - Pasta Dough Ingredients

Flavoring Agent

Description Flavor Color

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour must be mixed with an all-purpose flour to make the dough workable. Begin by using 1 part whole wheat flour to 1 part all-purpose flour. To increase the flavor and color, experiment with mixing a larger portion of whole wheat flour than all-purpose flour. It may take a couple of tries to get the most flavor and still have workable dough. Enhances the natural nutty flavor of basic pasta. Medium tan to light brown
Buckwheat Flour

Mix 3 parts buckwheat flour to 1 part all-purpose flour. Whisk an egg into the water that will be mixed with the flour. This will help make the dough smooth and workable.

Strong nutty flavor Light to medium brown
Oat Flour Oat flour must be mixed with an all-purpose flour to make the dough workable. Begin by using 1 part oat flour to 1 part all-purpose flour. The amount of water may need to be adjusted also. Nutty Tan to medium brown
Brown Rice Flour Flour made from rice that has only the inedible hull removed. This flour is high in fiber and produces dough that resembles pasta dough made from whole wheat flour, except the dough made from brown rice flour is a little stickier. Pasta dough made with brown rice flour works best for making flat noodles. Slightly sweet Tan to light brown
Rice Flour Rice flour is mixed with water to produce a translucent noodle. Mild Translucent white
Mung Bean Threads Mung bean starch and potato starch are combined to produce a flavorless noodle that takes on the flavor of the food that it is combined with. Flavorless Translucent white
Corn Meal

Begin by using 1 part corn meal to 1 part all-purpose flour. If too much corn meal is used, the dough becomes too grainy and will be difficult to roll out and extrude.

Color Note: Color depends on the type of corn meal used.

A slightly nutty, corn flavor Yellow, white or blue - See: Color Note
Spinach Cook approximately ½ pound of spinach until the leaves are tender. Puree or finely chop the cooked spinach and then squeeze out as much moisture from the spinach as possible. To assist in removing the moisture, wrap the spinach in a piece of cheesecloth and wring out the excess moisture. Add 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) of spinach to the eggs and gradually mix the flour into the egg mixture. Mild spinach Medium to dark green
Broccoli

Stir ¼ cup of finely chopped and steamed broccoli in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Save the water from cooking the broccoli and use if the dough is too dry and needs some liquid added.

Mild broccoli Medium to dark green
Tomato Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. The paste may produce a dough that is stickier than normal, if so, gradually add a little more flour until it is the proper consistency. Mild tomato Light reddish-orange to dark reddish-orange
Beet

Mix ½ cup of cooked beets, pureed and strained, in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Save the water from cooking the beets and use if the dough is too dry and needs some liquid added.

Slight flavor change from basic pasta. Deep pink to dark red
Carrot Mix ½ cup of cooked and pureed carrots in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Strong carrot Orange
Red Bell Pepper Remove the stem and seeds from one red bell pepper, cut it into small pieces and puree. Mix the pureed peppers in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Slightly sweet Bright orangish-red
Chile Pepper

Remove stems and seeds from 4 or 5 chile peppers and then finely chop or pureed them. Mix the pureed chile peppers in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Different varieties of chile peppers can be used, such as jalapeño, cayenne, poblano, and Serrano. Each has a different degree of hotness and the amount used in the dough may need to be adjusted accordingly. 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed, dried chile peppers can also be used.

A sharp biting flavor, which will vary in strength according to the type of pepper used. Color will vary according to the variety of pepper used, but is generally some shade of orangish-red.
Squid Ink (Black) Pasta Mix ½ ounce of squid ink in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Squid ink can be found in specialty gourmet shops or can be extracted from the ink sacs of fresh squid or cuttlefish. Has little or no flavor. It may have a slightly mild seafood flavor, if any. Dark gray, almost black
Garlic

Crush 2 to 3 garlic cloves, mix in with the eggs, and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture.

Garlic Creamy beige
Herb Mix ½ cup of finely minced herbs in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. A single herb or any combination of two or more herbs can be used. Some of the herbs that work well in flavoring pasta are sage, thyme, parsley, cilantro, chives, rosemary, tarragon, basil, and oregano. Intense herb Creamy beige with green flecks
Garlic and Herb Mix ¼ cup of finely minced herbs and 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves in with the eggs and gradually work the four into the egg mixture. Garlic and herb Creamy beige with green flecks
Curry

Mix ¾ teaspoon of fresh curry powder or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of stored or commercial curry powder in with the flour, pour the flour on the working surface and form a well in the middle of the mound of flour. Add eggs in the well and begin gradually working the flour and curry powder into the eggs.

Spicy Tint of burnt orange
Saffron Mix 3/8 teaspoon of saffron powder in with the flour, pour the flour on the working surface and form a well in the middle of the mound of flour. Add eggs in the well and begin gradually working the flour and saffron powder into the eggs. Saffron threads can also be used. Soak ½ teaspoon of saffron threads in 1 tablespoon of very hot water. Add the saffron liquid, which has been strained, to the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. Spicy, mildly bitter Bright yellowish-gold
Lemon Mix 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of lemon zest or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. If using lemon juice, you will need to add a little more flour to prevent the dough from being too sticky. Mildly tart lemon Light yellow
Strawberry

Place 2/3 cup of cleaned and halved fresh strawberries in a saucepan. Heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the juice from the strawberries by placing in a strainer and squeezing out as much juice as possible. Use only the juice for the pasta. Add the juice in with the eggs and gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. If dough is sticky after all the flour has been worked in, add a small amount of flour until the dough is the proper consistency.

Mild straw-berry Dull pale red
Chocolate Mix 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in with the flour, pour the flour on the working surface and form a well in the middle of the mound of flour and cocoa powder. Add ¼ cup of confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in with the eggs and pour egg mixture in the well in the middle of the flour. Gradually work the flour into the egg mixture. If the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until the dough is the proper consistency. Mild Chocolate Brown

These are just some of the more common flavoring agents used. You can experiment with other flavoring agents or mix two or more together to develop your own unique flavor. The amounts of flavoring agents stated above are a starting point for flavoring and coloring your pasta. Experiment and adjust these amounts according to your personal taste.

Some Asian noodles are available in flavors, such as spinach, green tea and red shiso. Most Asian noodles get their flavor from some of their basic ingredients, such as eggs, wheat flour, buckwheat flour, mung bean threads, and rice flour. Cellophane noodles, made from mung bean threads, have little flavor but absorb the flavor of the food that they are cooked with.

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