Although the rise of Veganism may appear to be a fairly modern phenomenon, vegan fresh pasta has actually existed in Italy for centuries.

Whilst the traditional recipe alla bolognese for the majority of fresh pasta shapes calls for doppio zero flour and eggs, there are an abundance of pasta shapes made from what is known as “pasta bianca”, or “white dough”, made using only flour and water.

These pasta shapes commonly derive from the South, where limited access to expensive ingredients such as eggs meant that pasta-makers had to innovate with the little that they had. Nowadays, pasta bianca still remains a popular choice in the South of Italy, where a lighter dough is more suited to its warmer climate.

So which pasta shapes are vegan?

Well, technically any shape can be made vegan when made with white dough! But in the spirit of Italian authenticity, we’ve listed our top 5 traditional vegan shapes and our very own recipe so you can make it yourself at home

How to make vegan pasta dough (serves 3)

  1. Ingredients

    – 200g semolina flour/durum wheat flour
    – 300ml tepid water
    – Pinch of salt

  2. Make a Well

    Tip the flour onto a wooden chopping board, add a pinch of salt and use three fingers to create a well in the centre

  3. Add water

    Gradually pour the warm water in the centre of the well, gentle incorporating the surrounding flour as you go

  4. Kneading

    Once the water and flour have been combined, knead the dough by folding it in half and firmly pushing against the board with the heel of your palm. Continue this for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.white pasta dough

Searching for guidance to further your pasta making skils. Why not check out the Definitive Guide to Making Homemade Pasta

Orecchiette

Orecchiette literally translates to “little ears”, inspired by its shape, and originates from Puglia.

To make these little ears, cut off a quarter of the dough and roll into a long sausage shape roughly 1cm in diameter. Cut into pieces approximately 1cm wide, ensuring that you slice the roll at a diagonal angle.

Lightly flour the pieces of dough and, using a straight-edged knife, press the flat end of the blade down onto the dough and drag this towards yourself, causing the dough to curl over the knife. Unfurl the pasta dough by turning this outwards, giving it it’s distinctive ear-like shape.

Strascinati

The name strascinati derives from the word strascinare, meaning “to drag”, inspired by the process of dragging pieces of dough over a knife to create its shape.

The process of making this pasta shape is the same as orecchiette, with the exception that these are larger in size.

Cut the dough into roughly 2cm pieces and follow the steps above.

Trofie

Trofie finds its origins in the Liguria region of Italy, so it’s little surprise that it is traditionally paired with pesto. It is believed the name trofie derives from the Ligurian word strufuggia, meaning “to rub”,  inspired by the process of rubbing the dough against the palm of your hand to create the distinctive twirls of this shape.

strascinati

To make trofie, cut a section of the dough and roll into a thin sausage shape approximately 5mm thick. Cut the dough into 3cm pieces and dust with flour to prevent sticking. Then, take each piece and quickly roll it down the base of your palm to your fingertips to create its delicate twists.

Pici

Pici comes the word appiciare, the verb for the process of making this chunky spaghetti shape.

The good news is they are incredibly easy to make – simply take a piece of dough and roll into thin sausages so that they resemble thick spaghetti.

Once made, leave to rest on a tray and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook.

Malloreddus | Gnochetti sardi

Malloreddus literally translates as “fat little bulls” and originates from Sicily. So revered is this pasta shape in Sardinia that it is actually tradition for newlywed brides to carry a basket of homemade malloreddus in a basket to her husband’s door, to be shared on a single plate to cement their union as husband and wife.

To make malloreddus, roll the dough into a sausage shape and cut off into 1cm chunks.

Using a gnocchi paddle, roll the pieces over paddle to impress the ridges onto the dough.

Once you’ve made your pasta, simply cook for 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water and transfer to your pan of sauce using a slotted spoon.

Buon appetito!

For inspiration about which sauce to pair your Vegan pasta, you can check out our guide.

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