It’s great to make homemade pasta, but it’s even greater if it’s colourful pasta! In this case, I will teach you how to make fresh homemade spinach pasta, with vibrant green colour and amazing taste. It’s not hard to make, I promise! You just add one extra step to the process and that’s it :).
I love to make fresh pasta and I can tell that you’re increasingly more interested as well! A type of pasta that I love to make is orecchiette, they’re fun to make and once you get the hang of it it’s a cool pasta shape. Homemade pasta really feels different, it’s delicious, you can cook it al dente and the satisfaction is endless. You start with a bit of flour and eggs and end up with a beautiful product that looks store-bought :)! Oh, and this same Spinach Pasta you can use for making lasagne! You just don’t slice it into fettuccine and that’s it. You don’t need to pre-cook it. A Lasagne Bolognese with spinach pasta is DELICIOUS.
Homemade Spinach Pasta
To add the spinach to the pasta we first need to perform a technique called “blanching”. You blanch a vegetable when you give it a quick pass through boiling water. In the case of greens (such as spinach), the water also needs to have a generous amount of salt so that the green sticks and becomes more vibrant. In this recipe, we blanch the spinach for 30 seconds (more than that and it becomes dull) and then blend it with the eggs and oil to colour the pasta. You can do the same with basil, chard, parsley, coriander or a mix of all of them.
Drying, freezing and cooking
In order to cook pasta and have it feel al dente, you need to dry it first. For this, the usual practice is to use a pasta hanger. You can also stretch it on a surface, but it dries much better on a hanger. The ideal situation is to dry it for 30 minutes and then cook it. You don’t want to keep it hanging for much longer than that because it could dry out so much that it could break. If you won’t be eating it immediately, it’s best to freeze is. For that, you place it like on the photo below. First, you need to choose a dish or container that fits in your freezer. Then you can dust it with flour or, ideally, line it with baking paper. On top you place the pasta twisted into a nest, very well floured. On top of the first layer, you can do a second layer of pasta divided by baking paper. Be gentle so as not to crush the pasta below. Now they go into the freezer overnight and after that time they can be switched to an airtight container and they won’t stick to each other. You can do the same with gnocchi! To cook the pasta you need plenty of salted water. When you add the pasta you want to gently give it a mix and cook it for 1-2 minutes.
For the spinach
- 120 g baby spinach stalks cut off
For the pasta
- 100 g eggs (2-3 eggs)
- 50 g egg yolks (3-4 egg yolks)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 350 g 00 Italian flour can be replaced with all-purpose flour
For the spinach
- First, we need to blanch the spinach leaves. For that purpose, bring water with plenty of salt to a boil. Once in a rolling boil, add the leaves and cook them for 30 seconds.
- Remove the leaves and place onto a colander. Once cold enough to touch, grab a few leaves at a time and squeeze them hard with your hands to remove as much water as possible. This is importat!
For the pasta
- Use a blender or immersion blender to incorporate the spinach with the eggs and oil. You should have tiny specks of spinach at the end.
- Sieve together the flour and salt onto a bowl.
- Make a hole in the center and add the spinach mix in there.
- Start mixing with a spatula or your hands from the centre, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients. When the spatula doesn't help anymore, use your hands to bring the dough together. Alternatively, place all the ingredients inside the bowl of a food processor and process until homogeneous. You can adjust the texture by adding more water or flour as needed.
- Wrap the dough in beeswax wrap or cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 24h.
- Divide the dough in 3 and roll out one section at a time, leaving the others covered as you work. Use a rolling pin first until you get to a thickness that can go through the thickest setting in your pasta machine.
- Pass the dough through the thickest setting and then make it thiner and thiner. About halfway through fold the dough in 3 (as seen in the video). This strengthens the dough and helps achieve that al dente texture when cooked. Start over again from the thickest setting and roll it until you get to 1mm thick. For me it was in setting 6 out of 9 available.
- Flour the sheet on the top and bottom and pass through the pasta cutter or fold it and slice. It’s important to flour it or it will stick.
- If you're going to keep it in the freezer then roll each portion into a loose nest and place on a floured dish. Make sure they're not touching each other. Freeze overnight and after that, you can place them all inside a container touching each other to save space; they won't stick now that they're frozen. Alternatively, if you're going to consume the pasta straight away, hang it from a pasta hanger or a rolling pin secured at the side of a table. Leave them hanging for 30min and then cook in salty boiling water for 1-2min (same time for frozen). It's that quick with fresh homemade pasta.