Meatless Monday #7: Spinach pasta with mushrooms and walnuts

I love homemade pasta. It is so much tastier than store bought pasta and surprisingly easy to make if you have a good recipe. I have made homemade pasta many times but this recipe from Martha Stewart is the best recipe I have ever used. It really is easy to make, but I must warn you that you need a strong food processor (I almost burnt my little processor’s engine out making this dough).

What I like most about this recipe is the spinach you add to the dough. Not only is it very tasty, but I feel it makes the pasta a little healthier. It’s also a great way to sneak another veggie onto the plate especially if your kids (or partner) don’t like spinach. You can serve this pasta with any sauce. As it was part of our meatless Monday challenge, I opted to serve it with mushrooms, white wine, and walnuts.

What you will need for the pasta dough:

170 gr spinach (I used baby spinach)

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, plus a little for dusting

1 heaped tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

What you will need for the sauce:

Olive oil

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic

1 small chili or chili flakes

A handful of fresh thyme

A glug of White wine

A few walnuts

½ – 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)

This is how:

Steam the spinach for a few minutes until bright green and softened (I used a steamer, but you could steam it in a colander over a pot of boiling water). Let it cool slightly. Squeeze out excess liquid using a clean kitchen towel. Puree spinach in a good processor (you should end up with about ½ cup puree).

Add the eggs and egg yolk to the spinach puree in the food processor, and process until combined. Then add the flour and salt, and process until dough just comes together. About 20 seconds.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. You will knead it for about 5 to 10 minutes. If your dough is to sticky add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. Place on a piece of wax paper and cover with an inverted bowl. Or wrap tightly in bee wax wrap or clingfilm and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours.

Divide dough into 8 pieces. While working with one piece keep the rest of the dough covered. Flatten you piece of dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner that the pasta machine’s widest setting (number 1). Dust the piece of dough slightly with flour and feed it through the machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat this a few times until the dough is smooth and becomes more elastic.

Now turn the dial to the next narrower setting. Pass the dough through twice, gentle supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each dial, until the sheet becomes thin and translucent. The dough will stretch to about 40cm. If the dough sticks dust it with flour. Should the dough tear or bubble, pass it through again.

Martha suggests that the rolled-out dough be placed on a drying rack until slightly tacky (10-15 minutes) before cutting it into ribbons using the cutting attachment. By this time, I am usually so hungry that I skip the drying part and cut it immediately. And being impatient by nature I also cook it immediately. But if you want to do it by Martha’s standards you should drape the ribbons of pasta over a rack for about 20 minutes until the ribbons are semi-dry. This prevents them from sticky together when cooking.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al-dente. For no longer than 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a splash of olive oil in pan over a medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chili and fry for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 8 minutes.

Add the wine and fresh thyme to the mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta and parmesan cheese and mix until well combined. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.



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