“Without tradition, art is flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.”
Spring Fresh Pasta
I used to make pasta fresh all the time, that is until I moved into my current kitchen… the counter edges were all wrong for my hand cranked pasta roller. I did try rolling it with a pin with moderate success, but if you’re going to bother kneading the dough for all that time, shouldn’t you really be rewarded with an outcome that can only be described as ethereal?
I’ve rediscovered my passion for making fresh pasta as I recently received a roller and cutter attachment for my stand mixer. AHHHHH! Perfection! I had been showing off the new piece of equipment on Facebook and my niece was quick to request a lesson in pasta making. Of course I said yes!
Passing along a recipe is one thing… sharing a passion for the art of making food from scratch which was born in my grandmother’s kitchen many years ago, is quite another.
I’ll never forget rolling grape leaves or making sfeeha and spinach pies with my Sittoo and Aunt Mary, subsequently with my Mum and sister. Teaching my nephew how to make them later was a bit of a wake up call as far as the whole ageing thingy goes but I enjoyed it regardless. It’s a passing on of a tradition that matters so very much.
I love the idea that I’m becoming a part of history, becoming something in my niece and nephews lives that my aunts and grandmothers were in mine. The style of cuisine is irrelevant – Lebanese, Italian or otherwise – it’s the message that food is nourishment for the soul as well as for life.
This pasta recipe is so simple and the quality attainable that I strongly urge you to put aside any preconceived fears you may have had about making pasta fresh and give it a whirl. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’ve chosen the simplest and freshest of ingredients to top it with in order that the pasta itself may shine. Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on and it will help this pasta dish sing!
In keeping with the sharing of traditions, the recipe for the sauce is a collaboration of both my ideas and my sister’s combined to create this simply gorgeous spring fresh pasta. It’s a simple and elegant sauce which I hope you will try even if you decide to use store bought pasta.
I’ve made a short video on the making of pasta for those of you who aren’t fully convinced of the simplicity of the process.
In the meantime,
Enjoy & Namaste!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup AP flour
- 4 eggs
- Spring onions - 1 bunch chopped, white and light green parts
- 1 cup fresh green peas
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Ricotta cheese
- 1 soft poached egg per serving
- High quality extra virgin olive oil
- S&P to taste
- Zest and juice of one whole lemon to finish
- Heap flour on to clean counter
- Make a well in centre with your fingers
- Crack eggs into well
- Begin combining with a fork, slowly introducing bits of flour from edges until a paste begins for form
- Using bench scrape, push bulk of remaining flour to the side to be re-introduced slowly
- Begin turning paste over adding flour in small amounts until paste is thick enough to be manipulated with hands
- Continue in a kneading fashion adding flour for 8-10 minutes
- Dough should be moist but not sticky, almost leathery to the touch
- You'll know you've finished kneading and adding flour when a finger thrust into the centre of the ball of dough comes away moist but not sticky.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temp for 20-30 minutes
- ROLLING & CUTTING:
- Tear off egg size pieces of dough and flatten with the palm of your hand. I do recommend having flour at the ready to help keep the dough from sticking
- Pass the flattened piece of dough through setting 1 twice, dipping the flattened dough in flour as required.
- Pass through setting 2 twice.
- Continuing through the setting up to setting 7, folding if necessary to obtain desired width and length.
- Hang to dry, or lie flat on clean tea towels.
- When sheets of flattened dough have dried for 10 minutes or so you can proceed to the cutting stage.
- Hang cut pasta or lie flat on clean tea towels for about an hour
- Pasta will take about 3 minutes to cook in rapidly boiling, salted water.
- Saute cubed pantetta. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
- Lightly sauté green onion in rendered pancetta drippings. Set aside to drain with pancetta
- Cook peas until bright green, drain and set aside
- Cook pasta and toss with high quality extra virgin olive oil
- Poach eggs, 1 (or 2 if you're feeling decadent) per serving
- Top pasta with pancetta, onion, peas, dollop of ricotta and poached egg
- Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley, lemon zest and finish with lemon juice
- Season with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper.