I was so excited a couple weeks ago because I finally bought myself a pasta roller. They actually aren’t that big of a deal, I got mine(which seems to be fairly good quality) for about $30. It is already money well spent now that I don’t have to consider homemade pasta as a special treat, I can make it fairly quickly whenever instead of using boxed pasta. And considering how much healthier it is, using freshly ground wheat and farm fresh eggs, not to mention it’s much cheaper than buying it. My first experiment was to make 100% freshly ground whole wheat, and while it worked, it still needs a little experimentation. This experiment worked very well though and it was so yummy! I can’t wait to make this one again.
I know I was talking about my pasta maker but it really isn’t very difficult to make this by hand either. The rolling out will take some time and muscle, but it’s well worth it for a special treat. I know it can be rather disappointing when you’ve rolled it all and cut it to find you don’t have much pasta, but don’t be too disappointed as the pasta will grow in the boiling water, and plus with whole wheat flour and eggs it doesn’t take much of this pasta to fill a person up 🙂
There are so many different ways to dress pasta and unfortunately I’m not that creative. Of course one of my favorites is just a basic marinara sauce but I’m thinking of and already have a few new ideas for flavored pastas(not to mention fun pasta shapes) and pasta dishes that I can’t wait to try out in the future. For this dish I just tossed the pasta with a little olive oil(or butter would be great) and mixed in some fresh herbs and dried tomatoes and then topped it with parmesan.
Just talking about kids for a moment here (if you noticed the title of the post :D) I’ve found, at least with my son, that naming foods differently can help immensely with how picky he is. In general my son isn’t picky at all, but sometimes all it takes is changing the name of a dish to get him to try it when he’s not too excited about giving something a first try. Monster smoothies are also a favorite around here.
[print_this]Spinach “Monster” Pasta
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 C whole wheat bread flour(the kind I buy doesn’t have as much germ or bran in it and has quite a bit more gluten than all purpose flour), or 1 1/2 C freshly ground whole wheat flour with 1/2 C white bread flour or all purpose
In a blender or food processor blend the eggs, salt, oil and spinach till very smooth. You may need to let it run for a couple minutes to make sure that no small pieces of spinach remain. Transfer the egg mixture into a bowl with the flour. Mix well then knead with floured hands adding at least 1/2 C extra flour. If your flour isn’t high in gluten or specifically for bread you may need to knead it for much longer to get the desired smoothness. Letting it rest for 10-15 minutes in between kneading sessions can help as well. Knead until fairly smooth, probably 8-10 minutes. Then cover well or wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes before rolling.
At this point the dough should be tacky but not sticky. If it is, knead a few times more to incorporate a little more flour and the strengthen the gluten some more. To roll, divide the dough in half. Make sure the piece not being used is wrapped in plastic wrap or well covered. Roll out one sheet of pasta as thin as possible, at least 1/8″ or thinner. If it becomes hard to roll, cover with a towel and let it rest for 5-6 minutes before returning and rolling some more. If using a pasta roller, roll it out then fold it over and roll again. Repeat a few times until the pasta comes out of the machine in a uniform piece before adjusting the machine to roll the pasta thinner. Once it’s rolled out, flour the surface well and then roll it up into a log. Then with a very sharp knife slice off thin strips. Unroll the pasta and sprinkle with a little flour before rolling the rest of the dough. Or if you like the remaining dough can be stored in the fridge for a couple days as long as it’s well wrapped.
Once the pasta is rolled and cut and sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking, you can wrap it loosely in plastic wrap and freeze or hang it to dry. To cook, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Drop the pasta in and cook for just a couple minutes. Drain and serve immediately while still hot.[/print_this]
What’s your favorite shape of pasta? Have you ever made your own pasta? If you have kids, do you have any funny names for dishes to get them to try it?