For some reason, early in the year I decided I would treat myself to a belated Christmas present-to-myself of a pasta maker. It’s something I have thought would be nice to have for years, especially since we do love pasta in our house, and with a toddler who is clearly a fan of both pasta and homemade gnocchi, it seemed a good idea to be able to experiment with different homemade pastas. At least, that’s how I justified it all to myself, and I was sufficiently excited when it arrived although it took me a little bit of time to actually get round to using it. My first go was, possibly ambitiously, some ravioli. Since then, I have made this fresh spinach pasta a couple times and it has already become a household favorite.
I won’t lie, making pasta was always a slightly scary idea and even having done it a couple times, it still isn’t the quickest thing to make. However, it really isn’t that hard and the result is so delicious, to me it is certainly worth the effort. If you don’t have a pasta maker you can still make your own by just rolling the pasta out thinly and slicing them up by hand. It just makes it a little easier to get them even with a machine and is probably easier to not have them stick, but there won’t be any impact on the taste.
You can easily make larger amounts of pasta either for a larger group or to dry some for another day. If you dry it, you’ll need to hang the strips, separated so they don’t stick together, until they are fully dry which to be safe is best left overnight. Then, when you cook the dried pasta just be aware it will take quite a bit longer to cook compared to being fresh so make sure you test it is done (it will take more like 8-10minutes rather than 2-3).
This fresh spinach pasta is such a beautiful color and tastes great, plus it’s packed full of spinach goodness so what’s not to love? You can serve it with your choice of sauce from a simple tomato sauce or pesto to more simple browned butter or olive oil. The mix of plain and semolina flour gives a great texture and flavor that makes you really know it’s freshly homemade. You can almost taste your effort in there, and it makes it so worth it. I for one feel the pasta maker has been worthwhile, and my family seem to agree. I’m looking forward to this many times again, as well as trying other variations.
Fresh pasta is something special and this spinach version has an added nutritional punch. Comforting and tasty.
- 8 oz baby spinach 225g, weight without any stems (you can also use larger-leaf spinach, see below)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup all purpose flour 130g plain flour
- 3/4 cup semolina flour 127g, or additional all purpose 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 2-4minutes, until wilted and soft then drain.
Once the spinach is cool, squeeze well and squeeze again to get as much moisture out as possible. Roughly chop if larger leaf, then put in a food processor with the eggs, egg yolk and salt and pulse until well chopped and mixed, scraping down as needed.
Add the flours about 1/2 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.
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 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 once or twice at each settings until you get to the thickness you would like. Then either use the cutter attachment or hand cut and place the ribbons onto the prepared trays in a single layer and cover with a cloth (damp if they'll be left any length of time).
Once all is done and ready to cook, place handfuls at a time in boiling water for around 2-3 minutes.
Serve with your preferred sauce/addition eg browned butter, mascapone, pesto, roast tomato sauce.
I used my Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine to make this which worked really well.
Try these other homemade pasta dishes:
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