Saturday, January 18, 2014

Not Green With Envy-- Spinach Flecked Fettuccini with Artichokes

My hands are covered with flour, my counter experiences a bomb-like explosion and my floor is dotted with small heaps of white as I wade into pasta-making waters. Having made fresh pasta in the past, this time I venture to make the green kind....spinach pasta. And to make spinach pasta, you should have a whole bunch of it? The veggie drawer comes up empty and my freezer doesn't yield heaping quantities, just a small handful of the frozen stuff. But I am determined to make some form of pasta. Maybe not emerald green... More of a shade of ecru flecked with green shreds? Well, that's what materializes. 

There are many wonderful and reliable recipes for pasta, but I wholeheartedly trust Lidia Bastianich. In fact her Italian American Kitchen is an often-thumbed and much loved book that gets its spine cracked at least once a month. Her instructions are precise, clear and I cannot stress it enough...reliable! Can't say the same about a certain chef in orange Crocs. His books and recipes look and sound wonderful, but I have yet to make something that sticks the landing. Anyway... going back to one of my favorite books from which I have recreated something from each chapter with great success. This time I endeavor something a little challenging. 

Spinach is defrosted and squeezed dry. Flour swirls in the mixer. Olive oil and eggs help make a cohesive dough. As I knead I scrutinize the dough marbled with spinach. Not as green as I first visualized. Am I disappointed? A little. I do want to see that deep green but I'll settle for flecks.

Spinach Flecked Fettuccini with Artichokes
Serves 4

2 cups unbleached all purpose Flour
1 cup frozen Spinach, defrosted
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 Shallot
2 cloves Garlic
1 cup White Wine
1/2 cup marinated Artichoke hearts
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Cream
1/2 cup Pea shoots

Start with the pasta. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle blade.

Squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach.

Roughly chop the spinach and add to flour.

Give the mixture a few spins.

Break eggs into a bowl and whisk to break up yolks.

With the mixer on low add eggs and olive oil. Let the dough come together for a few minutes. 

Take dough and place on a flour-dusted counter.

Knead the dough for a few minutes. Cover and let dough rest for 1/2 hour.

When you are ready to make fettuccini divide the dough into 8 parts. 

I use a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid. It's fast and easy. For other devices look below at NOTES.

Affix the roller attachment.

Flatten one piece of dough and run it through the roller set at #1.

Move roller to #2 and run pasta through again. 

Rotate the roller to #4 and keep rolling pasta. It should get thinner with each roll.

Turn the roller to a spot between #5 and #6 and roll the dough. At this point the dough will have stretched quite a bit and is thin enough to cut.

Flour the counter and lay the pasta on the flour. Lightly dust the surface with flour too. 

Fold pasta in half and then in half again. 

Cut pasta into 1/2 inch ribbons with a sharp knife.

Unfurl pasta and gently toss in a little flour. 

Place pasta in piles on a sheet pan.

Roll out the rest of the pasta the same way.

Fill a large saucepan with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. 

Salt the water generously and add pasta to boiling water.

Cook pasta for 8 minutes. 

Drain and keep warm.

Peel and finely chop shallot and garlic.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. 

Add shallots and garlic and lightly brown.

Pour white wine in and let the liquid bubble for 8 to10 minutes.

Lower heat and add the cream.

Artichokes go in at this point along with the cooked fettuccini.

Season with salt and pepper, give the pasta a stir and serve hot.

Garnish with peas shoots.


If you have a pasta attachment to your stand mixer, this would be a good time to use it. You could also use a stand alone pasta maker. If no such device exists, resort to good old manual labor..your hands, a rolling pin and lots of flour. Roll the pasta thin. Folllow the directions from the above recipe.

Then again if you cant be bothered to knead and roll, just buy spinach fettuccini! Easy as pie and cooked in a jiffy!!

So the fettuccini is not completely green. In fact it looks like regular pasta with an afterthought of green. But it tastes really good, toothsome, cooked with just enough bite. Overt flavors of wine, cream and fresh pea shoots do not wrangle for particular attention. Briny artichokes add texture and taste. Broad ribbons bathed in creamy sauce are piled high in my bowl....where's my fork????