Spinach pasta with artichokes and tomatoes
Today I woke up and it was cloudy, rainy and gross…. a perfect day to make fresh pasta! I decided upon spinach pasta since I’m still experimenting with fresh pasta with add-ins, like spinach or fresh herbs. With a whole day to give it a shot, why not?
I started making fresh pasta when I was…. ummm…. let me think…. 20 years old, and it was terrible. Awful, I tell you. I put too much flour in the dough, I didn’t let it rest and it was like trying to roll out a brick. Luckily, I got better at making the dough and asked for a pasta maker for my birthday, since trying to roll the dough thin enough was a little tedious. I love my pasta maker, and when I left for Peace Corps, I made my mom promise to use it and take good care of it. It’s definitely my most favorite cooking gadget, although lately I’ve stopped using the attachment that slices the pasta because it never slices all the way through unless the pasta is thick. I’ve started slicing it by hand with a pizza slicer and then letting it dry out a little, which adds more time but I think it’s worth it because I don’t wind up with any big balls of pasta.
The key to fresh pasta, from what I can tell, is to let it rest for about 30 minutes. It makes the dough so much more malleable and easy to deal with. As far as making it goes, can figure you’ll probably use about 1 egg (or 1/4 cup of liquid) per 2/3 cups of flour. So, for example, you would use 3 eggs with 2 cups of flour. Using this ratio I measured the spinach after I blended it and it was about 1/2 a cup, so I added an egg and used about 2 cups of flour. I’ve always made my pasta dough by hand, which involves making a “volcano” out of the flour, putting the liquid in the middle, and then slowly mixing it all together with a fork. My little sister loves helping me make pasta dough because the “volcano” usually “erupts,” which is what happens when the liquid breaks through the flour and runs all over the counter (and maybe even the floor). It involves lots of shrieking, scrambling, flour-grabbing, and frantic mixing and kneading. My kind of cooking 🙂
Here is a photographic guide to making fresh spinach pasta… (I took A LOT of pictures)
There wasn’t really a recipe for making the tomato and artichoke sauce… I just put things together and it was SOOOO good. I chopped up 1/2 an onion and 3 cloves of garlic and sauteed it in the olive oil until it softened a little (you can also add some salt, pepper and red chili flakes). Then add in a jar of artichokes, making sure you also add in the juice the artichokes came in because it adds a lot flavor to the sauce. While that was cooking, I chopped up about a pint of baby tomatoes, and then I tossed those in too. In the mean time, get the pasta water going and cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes. When the pasta is done, drain it and then add the pasta to the sauce. If it looks like most of the liquid in your sauce evaporated, add some pasta water. You could also add in some fresh basil. Toss it together, top with some parmesan and enjoy!