Of all the doughs (bread, pie, short dough, and pasta), pasta dough may be the simplest – aside from a few bread recipes. Most pastas are a mix of just flour and water. Enriched pastas add eggs to the mix, giving the pasta a richer color and flavor. And then there are specialty doughs like this one that add flavorings and other ingredients to change the color and add flavor. Here the spinach adds a beautiful green, and a hint of earthy greens in the flavor.
So, the recipes are simple enough. What about the process to make pasta? While it can be time consuming (you have to knead and then continuously roll the pasta out, folding it in on itself, to create a tough structure that will hold up to boiling) it is easy and quite fun, especially when you get to the cutting and shaping stage. Every time I make pasta at home, my kitchen-hating friends and family will inevitably find themselves next to me at the island, working away on the dough and creating one of dozens of pasta shapes. There’s just no getting around it; pasta may be the most fun item to make in the kitchen.
Spinach Pasta Dough
Yield: 2 lb fresh pasta
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Pressing Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2-5 minutes minutes
Pasta cutters (or cookie cutters)
3 1/2 ounces spinach
12 ounces semolina flour
8 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 whole eggs
Extra all-purpose flour
1. Blanch the spinach by cooking it in boiling water for about 1 minute before removing it to a bowl filled with ice water. Squeeze all liquid from the spinach and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, salt, and spinach.
3. With the food processor running, add the eggs one at a time and blend until a coarse dough begins to form.
4. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
5. Knead until the dough is even throughout and somewhat elastic. The dough should be very tough and on the verge of difficult to manipulate. Add flour as needed.
6. Process the dough in small batches through your pasta maker according to the instructions.
Note: It is during this step that you will run the pasta through the pasta press numerous times, folding it in on itself and adding a little flour each time, to build the structure in the dough. I suggest doing this 5 or so times before rolling the pasta out in increments to get it to the appropriate thickness.
7. Once the pasta is rolled to the appropriate thinness depending on the type of pasta you are making, lay it out on a lightly dusted surface and cut out the shapes for the pasta you are making (for ravioli, farfelle, and other broad pastas). For pastas like capellini, spaghetti, or fettuccine, use the appropriate attachments on your pasta press or a sharp paring knife.
8. To sore, wrap pasta in a barely-damp paper towel, and the paper-towel wrapped pasta in parchment paper. Keep the pasta in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the pasta in an airtight container and store for up to a month.
7. Depending on the thickness and shape, cook the pasta in boiling water for 2-5 minutes, or until al dente.
What is your favorite pasta shape? Have you ever made pasta at home? Share your recipes in the comments below!