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I've got most of a 5 pound bag of masa harina left from a semi-successful foray into the world of tamales. Recently I've really enjoyed my pasta roller. It got me thinking. Is there some way I could roll out something fun made with masa harina? Obviously, that's not a traditional way to handle masa harina, but it could give me something fun to play with. I'm thinking maybe a riff on "Mexican Lasagna". My initial thinking is masa harina and warm mater in the same ratio as to make tortillas, give that a good whir in the food processor, and then add about the same amount of basic pasta ingredients (egg, flour,oil, salt) except use bread flour to give the combo some gluten. I could use the exercise, I would expect that combo to require a lot of kneading and a good rest between kneading periods. I'm not married to that combo or ratio and I'm open to suggestions. I'm not expecting to go as thin as pasta, but think I'd like to go as thin as my dough will let me. Once I have something rolled, I'd happily experiment with boiling, frying, steaming, baking or any good suggestions you might have. I'm not trying to make pasta or tortillas, but something entirely different using techniques and ingredients from both traditions.

So, do you think it could work? What pitfalls would you anticipate? Is there anything you would add or do differently? Finally, assuming I have a dough that I can stretch (I wouldn't risk it otherwise) do you see any way this could damage my pasta roller?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have mede pasta years ago with regular corn flour (not cornstarch, but just a non-nixtamalized version of maseca or very finely ground cornmeal if you wish) and I don't remember much in terms of the recipe, but I remember that it worked well in the roller and that the result was awesome. And I don't see a reason why you couldn't do the same with masa harina to add a little bit of the delicious nixtamal flavor (like they did here) =)

I tried to google a corn pasta recipe to link to (as I couldn't remember mine) ... and one of the first hits was - guess what - with masa harina. Here is the video, where it seems like they also use a pasta roller with no problems, but they were trying to make something gluten free, but there are a lot of other cornmeal pasta recipes online that use regular flour mixed in.

Just some thoughts on masa flour: in my experience when you making a firmer dough it often tends to come out a bit more crumbly ... but I had good success (if I wanted a bitt more compact workable dough) by mixing it 1:1 to all-purpose flour. The nixtamal flavor is strong enough that you still taste it well even if you use more wheat flour. Sometimes I also add a couple of drops of oil so that it isn't so sticky (you can also use other fats ... like the masa for tamales often calls for lard).

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I could have sworn I Googled it when I first had the thought a couple of weeks ago. The concepts I found looking at your links now are not much removed from my idea, except mixing the masa with water doesn't seem to be necessary. I like the idea of using lard instead of olive oil. Hmmm...this sounds good, maybe with a creamy roasted chile sauce sprinkled with queso fresco. Thanks! I think I'll give it a try soon. –  Jolenealaska Oct 1 '13 at 22:42
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