Homemade vegetable pasta.
Making vegetable pasta with the kids is a perfect Sunday activity – just like making playdough, except you can eat it
IN the last 12 months the US has been going bonkers – for flavoured pastas, that is. Maybe it was the influence of top chef Daniel Humm, who served parsley pasta at New York’s Nomad restaurant. Or perhaps it’s the general elevation of vegetables. But, once considered uber-daggy, coloured pasta is now beyond fashionable. Here are some ideas to get you started – and, best of all, given that these are rustic pastas you don’t even need a pasta maker!
This is a fun and easy Sunday project to do with the kids. Plus, think of how much more pride and enthusiasm they’ll have when served a bowl of their own homemade pasta instead of the usual jaffle or Sunday night soup.
Even better, they are eating and appreciating vegetables while still remaining on-trend with something that is totally Instagram-able, Boomerang-able or Snapchat-able.
NOMAD’S PARSLEY PASTA
Puree 165g parsley leaves with 130g ice water. Sieve in 300g Tipo “00” flour and 4g salt. Knead, cover in plastic wrap and leave overnight. Roll thin and cut into strips. Cook in loads of boiling water and remove once the pasta floats. Do this in batches to help stop it sticking. The pasta cooks in a minute, so watch it and have everything ready before you start.
Humm serves this pasta with golden garlic slices and pipis cooked in white wine, finished with a dollop of mascarpone. You could serve it with roast, grilled or steamed fish and maybe some zoodles (spiralised zucchini noodles) as a bit of a gag about this whole vegetable spaghetti thing.
Blend 200g raw spinach. Work the spinach puree into 300g “00” flour using a dough hook on your stand mixer, or by hand. Do this until it is well combined and the gluten in the flour has been activated. You’ll know this has happened when the dough feels a little bouncy and elastic. Add more flour if it feels sticky. Cover in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the rested and chilled dough into a couple of long, skinny, flattened sausages about as thick as your thumb (but much, much longer). Cut each length into 1cm-long slices and roll each slice across the floured kitchen bench, away from you, with the heel of your hand to create long, skinny, green bean-shaped lengths. Place on a paper-lined baking sheet.
Cook these spinach pici in lots of boiling water. They will sink, so carefully jiggle the pot to stop them sticking to the bottom. Adjust the water to the barest simmer. Remove when they float and are cooked through.
Toss with 500g just-cooked green beans, softened chopped garlic, olive oil and a good splash of the pasta water. Serve with loads of finely grated parmesan. Add fresh herbs and ricotta or a couple of poached eggs to make it a more substantial meal.
You can cook the beans and the pici together in the same pot if you are confident with your timings.
Puree 250g cooked beetroot and mix in 300g flour and two egg yolks. Knead until elastic. Cover in plastic wrap and rest for at least half an hour.
Divide the pasta into four balls and roll each piece into a long, thin sausage. Cut into 1cm slices and pinch each with your (floured) thumb to create an ear shape that has a ridge around the top sides but is thinner at the bottom where you’ve applied pressure. Place on a paper-lined oven tray.
Cook in lots of well-salted, boiling water, removing the orecchiette when they float. Serve the pasta strewn with toasted and crushed hazelnuts, crumbled feta or ashed goat’s cheese, lemon zest and thyme leaves.
ROAST PUMPKIN PAPPARDELLE
Season 300g roasted and mashed pumpkin with grated nutmeg and salt. Knead with 400g flour, adding more if the dough is moist and sticky. When the dough is clean to touch, wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Split into four balls, roll out thin and cut into strips. Cook in boiling salted water for a minute or two. Serve thinner strips tossed with lemon brown butter, sage, currants and toasted pine nuts. Serve thicker ribbons with a lamb ragu topped with grated smoked cheddar, or pecorino if you are a purist.