Categorized | All Recipes, Savory

So Many Pastabilities — Colored Pasta

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Mădălina

Making fresh pasta is simple– making fresh colored pasta on the other hand, is a pain in the ass. The process is quite simple, but very labor intensive and lengthy.

While the results are unique and beautiful, this isn’t something you should attempt unless you have a whole afternoon to kill. I’m sorry if the instructions are a little bit unclear, but I hope the pictures help. You’ve been warned.

For my colored pasta, I used natural foods to color the pasta dough. The technique involves taking a vegetable or fruit that is rich in color, boiling it and pureeing it, to extract the color you want.

The ratio of water to fruit that I used was 2 to 1. For every cup of vegetable, I added 2 cups of water that were used to boil them, until they were tender enough to be pureed. I also added 1 clove of garlic, salt and pepper, for extra flavor.

For the recipe below, you will only need approximately 6 oz of puree (in total). So you really don’t need that much of each color.

For orange, I used 2 varieties: one is a roasted red pepper puree, and the other one is a butternut squash puree.

For blue, I used purple potatoes– again, they were boiled, and pureed.

For fuchsia, I used beets– be careful, these guys stain everything they touch.

black, I used squid ink and flour.

green, I used spinach.

I’ve heard of people adding
chocolate, blueberries, and tomatoes to derive many different colors. It all depends on what colors you’re looking for.


- 2 cups semolina flour
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or “00″ flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt

- (this entire recipe will require ~ 6oz of puree)
+ 1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting

1. Make sure you have a clean work surface. Using your flour, create a ‘well’ directly onto your work surface (think volcano).

2. Pour in the eggs, olive oil, vegetable puree and salt. Staying in the center, begin mixing the eggs with a fork. Once your egg yolks have been broken, use your hands to slowly incorporate flour, and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will start to stiffen, and come together.

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3. Set the dough ball aside, and wash and dry your work surface as well as your hands. Lightly flour your clean work surface, and knead the dough until smooth and workable. It will be slightly firm, but it shouldn’t be too dry, nor too wet. If you find that the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more flour. If you find that your dough is too dry, wet your hands a little bit, and knead some more.

* roll the dough into a ball. When you poke it, it should feel tacky, but not sticky (think play-doh)

4. Loosely wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

5. You don’t need a pasta machine, but it makes your life a little bit easier. You can always use a rolling pin, and a lot of elbow grease.

6. Divide your dough into 4 equal portions, working on one at a time, leaving the rest covered in the fridge. Flatten the piece of dough with your hand into a disk and run it through the widest setting on the machine twice. Slowly, move the rollers to the next narrow setting, until your pasta is 1/16″ thick.

If you want to create different colored lines, run your pasta until it is 1/16″ thick. Do this to all of your colors.

Pick one color that will act as the base. Think of it as your canvas to which you will lay down other lines in patterns. Cut thin lines of your other color doughs, and lay them on your base sheet, pressing the lines down firmly into the dough. Once you have your pattern laid out, run the pasta base through the pasta machine (or roll it) a couple more times, until all the patterns are uniform and evenly pressed into the pasta. The thinner your lines, the more fine they will appear.

You can cut your final pasta sheet into linguini cuts, or attempt to make bow ties.

It’s a little tough at first, but then you start to get the hang of it. Below, I have my squid ink pasta base, with regular pasta strips laid out on top.

I then ran it through the pasta machine to press the pasta into one another. Starting to get the hang of it?

For the bowties, cut 1″x2″ rectangles, and using your thumb and index finger, bunch in the center and squeeze firmly.

Here are some helpful videos:


20 Comments For This Post

  1. cookies and cups Says:

    This is awesome!
    Maybe I could finally get my kids to eat without a fight!!

  2. Rebecca Larsen Says:

    I love how you used foods to naturally color and flavor the pasta. This is a beautiful post!

  3. Katrina Says:

    Very nice! I really like how you used the strips as opposed to creating large blocks of colored dough and rolling that all together….that’s a lot of work!

  4. briar Says:

    did the pureed food make a difference in the taste?

  5. Mădălina Says:

    briar — you can definitely taste a difference (especially the spinach). It’s a nice flavor though.

  6. Emma Says:

    This is so cool! I saw your comment on and had to check it out – it had never ever occured to me to make my own coloured pasta before but I am going to try it now. Particularly love the way you’ve done the sequence of photos showing the mixing of the pasta dough, would love to know how you did it!

  7. Elaine Says:

    Hi… Can I create Millefiore Cane designs with these pasta? I wonder whether will it shatters / breaks into pieces when boiled.

  8. Mădălina Says:

    Hey Elaine,

    I’ve actually tried this and it works. Just chill the dough before you slice it.

    Keep in mind that it’s a lot of work– you’ve been warned:)

  9. Jay Cohen Says:

    Very nicely explained, great pic’s. You can find powered Beets, Carrots, Spinach and some other veggies on line, that will somewhat speed up the pasta making process, but as always, working with food is a passion, not a job.


  10. Jessie Says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial and photos – so helpful and by far the best on the web! My striped pasta was lovely. :)

    Question: we tried the “blue” dough with the purple potatoes. Used probably 1/2 cup puree and while the pasta was delicious, it was also uncolored. My dough never turned the pretty shade of blue yours is in the above photo – tips or suggestions? Thanks!

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  15. Lina Says:

    The striped bow ties look beautiful! Thanks for the recipe! :D I recently made blue pasta naturally colored with red cabbage:

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  19. Lisa Smith Says:

    I love how this looks however, when I tried the version using purple potato, beet or spinach – none of my colors came out this saturated. Even the purple potato when pureed looked nothing like this.

  20. Sharon Says:

    Wow this is amazing! It’s a fun read! I learned something new today.

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