Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ah, Some Good Gluten

Yesterday I baked this loaf:

And I made my first batch of spinach pasta:

I couldn't get a picture of the finished pasta because a storm rolled in and messed up the lighting and then night fell. So I just ate it. Not all of it, mind you--I froze some too.

My recipe was a hybrid of one I found online and one in my pasta cookbook. I used five ounces of fresh spinach, one egg, 4.4 ounces of all-purpose flour, 4.4 ounces of semolina, salt, one tablespoon of olive oil, and then a little water when it wouldn't all pull together for me. (If you don't have a kitchen scale, a cup of each type of flour should be roughly correct, but you may have to make some adjustments.)

First I steamed the spinach until it was completely wilted. Then I squeezed out the excess liquid and pureed the spinach in the food processor. I added the egg and processed until the mixture was smooth. I mixed the dry ingredients, added the spinach mixture and oil, combined it all and added a little bit of water to get it all to come together. Then I kneaded it for ten minutes, wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it relax in the fridge for an hour.

Rolling out pasta dough is always a challenge--this is where a pasta machine would come in very handy--and it takes at least a good ten minutes of hard rolling before it will relax enough to hold its shape. It's a good workout. If you've never made pasta before and try this recipe, don't lose patience. This is normal. Keep going. Once it was rolled out, I rolled it into a log and cut it into narrow strips, hung them to dry for an hour and then cooked up a small batch for a late dinner.

I actually get emotional sometimes cooking, especially when I've got really fresh wholesome and beautiful food. This pasta was the most gorgeous shade of green and I found myself getting a little choked up. Okay, it's a little embarrassing to admit. But I stood there all emotional thinking that here in my little shack, living my simple little life, I really have it better than the wealthiest people on the planet. I've got such abundance here, such incredible richness. The simplest little things, like my ridiculously green pasta, bring such deep satisfaction. Good food nourishes much more than just the body.

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