Fresh, homemade pasta is flavored with cooked spinach, nutmeg, red pepper, and garlic, for brightly colored noodles that are almost too pretty to eat.
- 1 lb fresh spinach
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Add the spinach to a large heavy bottom saucepan and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the spinach is completely wilted, 2-4 minutes. Drain in a sieve or fine mesh colander set in the sink. Run cold water over the spinach until completely cool. Squeeze as much water from the spinach as you can with your hands and spread out on a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry with another clean kitchen towel.
- Add the cooked spinach and 2 whole eggs to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Process until completely smooth. Add the 2 egg yolks, salt, nutmeg, red pepper, and garlic (if using), and process just long enough to blend.
- Dump the flour onto a pile in the center of a clean work surface.
- Create a well in the center of the flour and add the spinach and egg mixture. Use a fork or your fingers to gradually begin to whisk the flour into the spinach and egg mixture. Gradually pull more and more flour into mixture, until a soft, shaggy dough begins to form. This will take several minutes. At this point, it’s unlikely that all of the flour has been incorporated, which is ok.
- Using your hands and a dough scraper, continue to work the dough to bring it together. Once you’ve incorporated enough of the flour to form something that resembles dough, begin kneading by folding the dough on itself, flattening it out, and folding it again. The dough will be soft at first; as you knead, incorporate more and more of the flour. Continue until you have a smooth elastic ball of dough that is not sticky at all, but not so dry that it’s cracking, about 10 minutes. If you slice the dough with a sharp knife, you should see very few air bubbles.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours; bring to room temperature before continuing.
- Unwrap the dough and cut it into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, and keeping the remaining dough covered in plastic wrap, flatten the dough out a bit with your hands so that it’s thin enough to fit through you pasta machine. Set the past machine to the widest setting (usually marked “1”), and feed the dough through the pasta roller. Repeat 10-12 times; for the first 6 or 8 times, fold the dough over on itself before feeding it back through the rollers. This process will help complete the kneading process, strengthening the gluten in the flour and giving the pasta a chewier texture.
- Continue to feed the dough through the machine, gradually changing the settings to thin the pasta. Turn the dial to “2”, and run the dough through the machine a couple of times. Turn the dial to “3”, and run the dough through the machine a couple of times, etc. Continue to change the dial settings until the pasta is as thin as you want it to be. For spinach pasta, I usually don't go any further than 6 on my machine.
- Now feed the long sheet of thinned pasta through the cutting rollers of your machine. Use kitchen sheers to cut the strands of pasta into the length you prefer. Toss the noodles with a bit of flour to keep them from sticking together and place in little piles on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pasta dough.
- Cook the pasta immediately or let it sit for an hour or two to dry slightly. Fill a large pot 2/3 of the way full with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water and then add the pasta. Let cook for 30 - 60 seconds. Drain and serve.
- Category: Pizza and Pasta