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Acorn or Chestnut Flour Pasta

acorn flour cavatelli

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This is a pasta sometimes made in Puglia, according to the excellent book Encyclopedia of Pasta. There is no recipe for acorn pasta in that book, so I used as my inspiration Paul Bertolli’s chestnut flour pasta from his Cooking by Hand. I also converted the ounce measurements, which are more accurate but can be annoying to those without a scale (get a scale!) to dry measurements.

This is a rough, rustic pasta that cries out to be served with game. Ideally, wild boar, venison, wood duck or mallard – something that actually eats acorns. Do not expect to make super-refined pasta here, unless you have the ability to grind the acorns that fine.

A simple tagliatelle or pappardelle is perfect here, as is spaghetti if you have the die to make it. Hand-formed pasta, like orecchiette would also be good. Could you use acorn flour pasta for a ravioli? Yes, but it might be tough to roll it out thin enough. Decrease the amount of acorn flour and replace it with regular wheat flour if you do this.

Oh, and if you want a similar effect with a store-bought flour, use chestnut flour. You can buy it at good Italian grocery stores or from my friend Scott at Sausage Debauchery, who sells chestnut flour online.

Makes enough for 6

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup acorn or chestnut flour
  • 1 ½ cups cool water
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Pour the water into the well and combine it by swirling your fingers around. When the dough becomes a shaggy mass, bring it together with your hands, then knead on a floured counter for 5-8 minutes.
  3. Lightly coat the dough in olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit out for at least an hour, but this dough will keep in the fridge for a day. Acorn flour and semolina need a little longer to hydrate because they are coarser.
  4. Roll out depending on how you want to make the pasta. Tagliatelle would be the next-to-last setting on your pasta maker and about ¼ inch wide.
  5. Dust them in all-purpose flour as you lay the tagliatelle down on a floured board or counter. Allow to dry while you make the rest. After each portion of the dough is rolled out, gently pick up the center of the tagliatelle from the previous portion and twirl into a loose pile. Set aside.
  6. This pasta is not good frozen, but it will hold in the fridge for a few days. It gets terribly brittle the longer it dries out.

More Acorn Recipes

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