Making your own fresh spinach pasta dough is easier than you might think and the result is so delicious. You can pair it with a variety of sauces for a simple, tasty meal.
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A few years ago now, I decided to gift myself a pasta maker. It was something I had thought would be nice to have for years, but I'd always held off actually getting one. Which was silly, in some ways, as I do love making things from scratch and we are big pasta fans.
For some reason I jumped straight in with making ravioli. Not necessarily the easiest to start, but it was a relative success and we loved the results. Over the years, while we don't use it all that often, it's often enough to at least say I've become more efficient and confident.
This spinach pasta was one that I made early on and it's one we come back to relatively often. Yes, it looks just like the green pasta you can buy in the store but believe me, just as plain homemade pasta is that much better than bought, so is this.
I won't lie, making pasta isn't the quickest thing in the world. However, it really isn't that hard and you soon get in the swing of things. Kind of like making bread, you could even call it therapeutic and the end result is certainly worth the effort.
Do you need a pasta maker to make this?
No, you don't, need a pasta maker (either standalone as I have here or an attachment to a stand mixer). But they do make things that bit easier and quicker.
I made homemade pasta by hand when we were in Australia without my pasta maker, and you can still get it relatively thin and even rolling by hand with a rolling pin. However it does take longer and your hands do get a bit sore by the end!
You may also find, since it's a little slower, that your pasta dries out a little more. If you plan to save some, this may not bother you, but if you are cooking straight away you may want to cover your cut pasta with a cloth.
Tips for making spinach pasta
In general, this is much like making any other pasta, but a couple tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach. I recommend squeezing it with a cheesecloth and squeeze really well, chop, then squeeze again. You'll be surprised how much more comes out. The more you can reduce the added liquid, the less you'll need to add extra flour.
- Try to make the spinach-egg mixture really smooth. While some little chunks of spinach are fine, the smoother tit is, the more even the color and texture of the end pasta. This is something that I have worked on from my early tries (like the pasta hanging below) over time. I now use my blender to help get it smooth as my food processor isn't quite good enough to chop it really well.
- Let the pasta dough rest. This is true for any pasta dough - letting the dough rest helps the gluten relax and it's easier to roll. Make sure it's covered while it rests so it doesn't dry out.
- Only roll part of the pasta at a time. Leave the rest covered so it doesn't dry out. You can only really handle so much pasta at a time - remember it gets a lot bigger as it thins out! So just work in batches.
- Flour the dough well - this helps to avoid it sticking to the rollers. You may need to do this a few times as you roll, and I particularly recommend doing it before you cut into linguine, if you do, as this is where it is most likely to stick.
Can you make fresh pasta ahead of time?
There are a few choices if you want to make this pasta ahead of time. First, if you only want to make it an hour or so ahead, you can make the pasta, put it in bundles on a baking sheet and cover it with a cloth to keep it from drying too much.
If you do this, just make sure you keep your pasta pretty well floured as you cut it to save it sticking. Also, store it at room temperature - in the fridge it will get damp and stick together.
You can also dry pasta for another day (though I recommend using some the day you make it and then save leftovers. It is that bit better when fresh). If you dry it, you'll need to hang the strips, separated so they don't stick together, until they are fully dry. To be safe, you are best to leave overnight.
Once dry, you can store the dry pasta in a bag at room temperature. Then, when you cook the dried pasta just be aware it will take quite a bit longer to cook compared to being fresh. Make sure you test that it is done - it will take more like 8-10 minutes rather than 2-3 minutes when fresh.
How to serve spinach pasta
This is a pretty versatile pasta that can be served in a range of ways. You can serve it with a marinara sauce or pesto, or go really simple with browned butter or olive oil.
This style would also work well with a creamy sauce like alfredo or gorgonzola. It would be great as a base for a seafood pasta dish, particularly one with a creamy white sauce.
One of our personal favorites is with walnut sauce (as in picture above) which is a bit like a pesto but with different ingredients and easy to make, too.
You could also leave the pasta as whole sheets rather than cutting it into linguine/fettuccine and use it to make lasagna. And of course you could use it in other forms too, such as for ravioli (a simple cheese filling would be good).
This fresh spinach pasta is such a beautiful color and tastes great, plus it's packed full of spinach goodness. Yes, it takes a little time, but you can almost taste the effort as you enjoy it. And enjoy you will.
Try these other homemade pasta recipes:
- Crab ravioli
- Pumpkin pasta (with pumpkin in the dough)
- Pumpkin ravioli (tortelli di zucca)
- Tortellini in brodo (small meat filled pasta in broth)
- Lobster ravioli
- Plus get more mains recipes in the archives.
Tools to make homemade pasta:
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Fresh spinach pasta
- 8 oz baby spinach weight without any stems (you can also use larger-leaf spinach, see below)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour plain flour, or use roughly ⅓ semolina flour
- If using baby spinach, place spinach in a large bowl and pour over boiling water until all is submerged, pushing leaves down as needed. Leave for a minute then drain and allow to drain as it cools. If using larger leaf spinach, put the spinach in a pan of boiling water and boil for about 2-4 minutes, until wilted and soft then drain.
- Once the spinach is cool, squeeze well, roughly chop, then squeeze again to get as much moisture out as possible. Put the spinach in a food processor with the eggs, egg yolk and salt and pulse until well chopped and mixed, scraping down as needed. (see notes below)
- Add the flour about ½ cup at a time and pulse three or four times after each addition. Add the olive oil part way through. Once all added, pulse until the dough comes together, away from the sides into a ball.
- Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead with floured hands for about 5 minutes. It should be soft but not sticky - if it is, add a little more all-purpose/plain flour as you knead.
- Wrap in plastic/cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for around 30min. At this stage, you can keep the dough in the fridge for a day or two until ready to use. Then, let it rest at room temperature around 30 minutes before rolling.
- When ready, divide the dough into 4-6 sections and cover the pieces you aren't working with with a damp cloth to save them drying out. Prepare some trays by dusting them with flour or semolina flour.
- As you work with each piece, flatten it out slightly, dust with flour then put it through your pasta roller on the widest settings a few times (3-5 about right) until smooth, dusting with flour in between if at all sticky. Then move up the settings rolling ideally twice at each setting (once from either end) until you get to the thickness you would like. On my machine, I typically roll to about '4' or maybe '5'.
- Then, either use the cutter attachment or hand cut if you want to make into linguine/fettuccine and place the ribbons onto the prepared trays in little stacks or laid flat. Cover with a cloth if not using soon.
- Once all is done and ready to cook, place handfuls at a time in boiling water, helping the pieces to separate as you add them, for around 2-3 minutes until they come to the surface and are cooked.
- Serve with your preferred sauce.
This post was first shared in June 2015 and has been updated, primarily with new photos.