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While we may slowly be starting to venture out into the world more and more, let's be honest, we're still spending plenty of time inside.
And if you're like us, you may be running out of creative things to do as a family.
Enter our guest Dr. Kate Biberdorf (a.k.a. Kate The Chemist), author of The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments For Kids, who kindly shared a quite literally delicious experiment for you and your kids: the rainbow pasta taste experiment!
Basically, you take three different flours from your pantry to make homemade pasta, add food dye to each one so you can keep track of which is which, cook it, and finally, do a taste test to find out which one's the tastiest while admiring the technicolor hues of your meal.
Ready to try it for yourself? Andiamo!
NOTE FROM KATE: "Before this, I did a tomato sauce experiment, so I wanted to find a way to use the sauces. I had just restocked the pantry, so I decided to make some fresh pasta using three different types of flour. Feel free to use your science skills and experiment with whatever flour you have in your pantry — I just used three flours I had in mine."
- 9 eggs
- Small bowl
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2¼ teaspoons plus 1–2 tablespoons salt
- Mixing bowl
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons food coloring (3 different colors; optional)
- Plastic wrap
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- Rolling pin
- Large pot
- Spider strainer
- Crack 3 eggs into the small bowl.
- Use the whisk to gently beat the 3 eggs into a homogenous mixture, so it all looks the same. Set aside.
- Add the all-purpose flour and ¾ teaspoon salt to the mixing bowl and stir (or use an electric mixer with the hook attachment).
- Add the egg mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and ½ teaspoon of food coloring (in the first color, if using different colors) to the flour mixture and stir.
- Knead the dough by hand until it is one cohesive ball of dough (or use an electric mixer for about 2–4 minutes). PRO TIP: If your dough feels dry, add ⅛ teaspoon of water and stir. Repeat until the dough sticks together.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. If you are not using food coloring, label the dough as Experiment A. Set aside for 30 minutes. If you are using food coloring, record which color you used for Experiment A.
- While the dough is resting, crack 3 more eggs, then use the whisk to gently beat the 3 eggs into a homogenous mixture in the small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the cake flour and ¾ teaspoon salt to medium bowl and stir.
- Repeat steps 4–6 (using a different color for the dough).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, label as Experiment B (or record which color was used for Experiment B), and set aside for 30 minutes.
- While the second dough is resting, crack 3 more eggs, then use the whisk to gently beat the 3 eggs into a homogenous mixture in the small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the whole wheat flour and ¾ teaspoon salt to medium bowl and stir.
- Repeat steps 4–6 (using a different color for this dough too).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, label as Experiment C (or record which color was used), and set aside for 30 minutes.
- At this time, the dough for Experiment A should be ready. Remove the plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Try to make it as thin as possible.
- Ask a parent to help you cut the dough into your desired shape (e.g., long, skinny fettuccini; thicker pappardelle; butterfly-shaped farfalle; or hand-torn strapponi).
- Repeat steps 15–16 with the doughs made from Experiments B and C. PRO TIP: In order to minimize variables in your experiment, try to be consistent with the thickness of your dough. It’s also a good idea to use the same shape of pasta too.
- If you have a drying rack, you can hang your pasta to dry for the best consistency. (If not, it’ll still taste good.)
- Fill the large pot 2 ⁄3 full with water. Add the salt and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the pasta from Experiments A, B, and C to the water and cook for 2–5 minutes (or until the pasta is al dente). Cook the three batches of pasta separately if you didn't use food coloring.
- Use the spider strainer to remove the pasta from the water.
- Compare the color, texture, and taste of the different pasta noodles.
- Add your favorite sauce, stir, and enjoy your rainbow pasta!