I was on the hunt for a good whole wheat pasta dough recipe, when I came across this strange word: bigoli. It baffled me! What was it? I read a lot of Italian cookbooks and have never seen this word before. I did a little research, and it seems to be a type of extruded whole wheat pasta with a lot of variations in recipes.
The good news is that you won’t need a pasta roller to make this dish. (This crazy looking gadget can be used to prepare bigoli in the traditional way. Yikes.) Upon the advice of Mario Batali’s recipe, I used the meat grinder attachment for my standing mixer to extrude the pasta.
Bigoli (very large, whole wheat spaghetti)
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tbls. butter
Prepare the dough –
- Cut the butter into small pieces. Warm the milk on the stovetop over low and stir in the butter. When melted, remove from heat.
- Whisk the eggs into the milk and butter mixture.
- Stir into the whole wheat flour with a fork or a rubber spatula.
- When the dough has begun to incorporate, tip onto your board and, with both hands, work more to bring it together. Push together and begin to ‘fold’ over. Knead the dough for about five minutes, dusting with a little more whole wheat flour, if needed.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Unwrap the dough and knead again for a few minutes. The dough will start to feel taught. Let it rest for about 10 more minutes.
- While the dough is resting, attach the meat grinding attachment to your mixer. Select the smallest plate that you have. (Do not use the blade.) Dust a cookie sheet with flour and have it standing by. Slide your cutting board under the attachment.
Here we go!
Extrusion time –
- You want to make sure that you have a continuous supply of dough in the attachment, but you do not want it to jam. The best way in which to accomplish this is to take off little pieces of dough (about 2 tbls.), roughly roll it, and pop it into the top. If you put too many in, the dough will mush together (and jam).
- Start the motor on the lowest setting.
- As you add balls of dough in the top, you should see the bigoli extruding through the plate. I found it easy to dust the strands as they were coming out. (This is why you put the cutting board under the attachment – to keep flour from falling everywhere. Oops.)
- When they are as long as you want them, cut them off with a butter knife and place them on the prepared cookie sheet.
Cook the bigoli in boiling water for 3 minutes. We topped ours with a sorrel pesto, but I think that I would go with a different sauce next time. (Roasted vegetables? Chunks of tomato?) The husband pronounced this a very ‘hearty’ pasta dish. It was delicious, though not very pretty.