I spent the afternoon in the kitchen today making some velvety spinach pasta with a little helper in his custom chef’s apron. I felt a need to spend some time making something that my family would enjoy, and that would give me a sense of time well spent. Since the loss of my 9 year old in June, keeping myself occupied and seeking satisfaction in small tasks has become vital to my day to day functioning.
I discussed the idea of making some green noodles with my little guy and he seemed to find the idea exciting, so - an afternoon making green noodles was sealed.
I thought rather than following my usual pasta recipe, (from Jamie Oliver) that I would just wing it this time and see if my pasta instincts were up to scratch.
My pasta instincts proved to be intact, even though it had been some time since I’d made it, and Isaac and I turned out a lovely pile of light green speckled Pappardelle.
Doing things the traditional way with a rolling pin and slicing the Pappardelle by hand, (ok, I don’t have a pasta machine - I had no choice) Isaac and I carefully unrolled the pasta slices, his little
chubby hands being so very careful and making a mistakes pile when they did not entirely cooperate with the unrolling.
Lacking a drying rack for pasta, I had to improvise with the broom handle propped precariously on the open oven door, because of course, the benches were too far apart for the length of the broom handle.
Leaving the pasta drying decoratively across the entire width of the kitchen, I started on the sauce. Mushrooms, cream cheese, white wine and thyme - with pancetta (for the omnivores)
No complaints at the dinner table this evening, and a very satisfied with himself 4 year old. Lovely speckled pasta and velvety sauce - even Isaac declared it
- 3 Jumbo eggs
- 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- additional flour ( all purpose or semolina flour for dusting)
- one bunch of fresh spinach ( 300 grams) cooked, cooled and liquid squeezed from it
Toss everything into the food processor and pulse until the pasta dough comes together into small balls. Tip out of the processor on to the bench top and work into a smooth silky dough for 2-3 minutes.
Wrap in plastic wrap and either place in fridge or leave at room temp if it’s not too warm for 60 mins.
Divide your dough in half and either run through a pasta machine or roll out by hand to 1.5 mm thick and slice into wide strips roughly 2-3 cm wide.
The thinner you roll your pasta the better. A wide heavy rolling pin helps if you are rolling by hand. Make sure you use plenty of flour on your bench top and then roll the dough into a sausage to slice it into strips, unroll each ribbon carefully and hang to dry. If you are somewhat generous with your flour your pasta will not stick to itself when rolled up.
Hang your pasta to dry - it can be stored in an airtight container if you do not want to use it all right away.
Mushroom and Thyme Sauce
- 500 grams of button mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup of cream cheese.
- 1 cup of good white wine
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh Thyme ( 1 tspn dried)
- 1 brown onion - diced
- 3 slices of Pancetta ( optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
Cook the onion until transparent- but not brown, then add the mushrooms to the pan and heat gently until the juices begin to run from the mushrooms.
Add in the white wine, thyme and cream cheese and simmer gently, stirring, until you have a rich sauce. This really only takes a minute or two.
If you wish to add pancetta this can be added just before you add the mushrooms.
Keep sauce warm and cook your pasta until tender and slightly firm to bite - not crunchy! (fresh pasta takes less time than dried- 2-3 minutes should be enough, test it by biting a little and see if the
texture feels right to you, don’t forget that pasta will continue to cook a little once removed from the heat)
Stir the sauce gently through the cooked pasta and serve piping hot!