Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rustic Parsley Pasta with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Parsley has got to be the most-loved herb in my garden ... by the possums. We actually like parsley, too, but sadly keep having to buy it because our marsupial friends help themselves. Alas.

So, I buy organic parsley at the natural foods store. But invariably end up with a massive bunch that I can't possibly use all at once - how do I make the most of it? Here's my answer - Parsley Pasta. Wait, wait, wait!... even if you have never made your own pasta, you can do this!

Last year I made my own pasta for the very first time (thanks Ben for lending me your pasta machine!) ... and, in fact, I don't think I had ever even had fresh fresh pasta before then! (Here's where I sell you on the idea ... ) Making your own pasta is:
1. actually pretty easy
2. an incredibly yummy treat
3. a fantastic gift (recently I made fresh pasta for friends who had just had a baby)
4. a great way to sneak herbs or veggies into your Little Helper
5. the best way to really enjoy the flavour and texture of pasta.
Worth it.

If any of you out there have a pasta maker tucked away in a cupboard, pull it out and dust it off. But if you don't have one, don't worry - you'll just get a better workout while you make this recipe ... which means of course you can have extra dessert.

Rustic Parsley Pasta with Lemon Garlic Sauce

The ingredients for pasta are really simple and economical. I always make a large batch to save some for another time. So this might seem a little confusing, but I've written a double-batch pasta recipe but only a single-batch sauce.

For the pasta (serves 4 now + 4 later - we'll be saving half)
2 cups minced parsley leaves*
3 1/2 c wholemeal flour plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp salt
4 free-range eggs
1-2 Tbs water

*leaves only, and make sure they are dry if you have just washed them

For the sauce (serves 4, double this if you'll be using all the pasta)
4-5 Tbs butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice and zest of 1-2 lemons (depending on taste)
parmesan or pecorino to grate over top

**try to use organic ingredients when you can

The recipe
1. Mince your parsley leaves as finely as you can get them (freeze the stalks in a bag for another time). Put the parsley, flour, salt and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork (and then your hands) until it starts to look doughy.
2. Add the water 1 Tbs at a time, mixing it into the dough until it starts to form a ball. Then knead it on a well-floured cutting board or benchtop for a minute or two until the dough starts to look smooth-ish (as we did for the crackers a few weeks ago). But realistically, it's never going to be really smooth because it's wholemeal flour studded with parsley. If the dough gets too gooey, just add more flour. (I almost always have to add more flour at the rolling stage anyway). When the dough looks good, just sprinkle it with more flour and set it to the side for a bit.

***Now, if you have a food processor, you can put your minced parsley, flour, salt and eggs into the work bowl and turn it on ... pour in your water 1 Tbs at a time while the processor is running. When the dough balls up, stop adding water and keep processing until the dough is smooth-ish. Take it out and sprinkle it with flour.
NOTE: As I'm a busy mum, I've got to be practical here ... if I'm going to make fresh pasta I won't be spending too long making it look beautiful (but trust me, it will TASTE beautiful). So our noodles will be thick, uneven, and rustic-looking. Which is beautiful in its own way!
3. If you have a pasta maker, I'm going to assume you know more or less how to use it. But basically, you are going to pinch a golf-ball sized amount of dough off the large ball, flatten it slightly between your palms and then run it through your pasta maker on the thickest setting. Sprinkle this massive noodle with flour, fold it in half and run it through another time. Then run it through on the next setting down, and then the next one down from that. I only ever go to about setting 5 for my noodles, but feel free to go thinner if you want. Keep dusting with flour as you go, so the noodles don't stick.
4. If you are doing this by hand, pinch off a golf-ball sized amount of dough and roll it out on a well-floured board. Roll it as thinly as you can get it, and keep dusting with flour as you need to.

5. When you've got all your dough rolled out into lasagne-looking sheets, hang them on a drying rack or lay them out on cookie sheets to dry a little. Then they won't stick together so much when you cut and boil them.

6. This is a great time to make your sauce. Put the butter in a frying pan over med-high heat till it melts, then add the minced garlic and turn the heat down to low. Saute for about 10-15 min until the garlic is soft, but make sure it doesn't get brown or burn (so keep checking and stirring it). Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and zest and a pinch of salt.

7. Put a pot of water on to boil, with a dash of olive oil in it. Make sure it's a really big pot.

8. We'll now cut 1/2 the pasta sheets into thick noodles and the other half we'll leave overnight to dry before storing in an airtight bag in the fridge. (We'll make an amazing lasagne with those this weekend ...)

9. Take each pasta sheet, lay it on the cutting board, sprinkle it with flour and cut into thick strips. They'll be rustically uneven looking. (It may be easier if you roll the sheet up like an enchilada and slice through the roll.)

10. If your water's boiling, add the noodles to the pot and cook only for about 3-4 minutes. Try not to overcook, it really doesn't take long. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, put them into a bowl and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with freshely grated parmesan or pecorino and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve up with a salad (ours was thinly sliced raw zucchini + olive oil + white wine vinegar + mixed roasted nuts + salt) and a glass of wine!

The Lazy Option
Is of course to finely mince the parsley, add it to the butter and garlic sauce about 2 minutes before you take it off the heat, then add the lemon juice. Boil up some wholemeal pasta, drain it, and mix through with sauce. Add parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. I didn't try it this way, so if you give it a go let me know how it turns out!

The rest of the pasta sheets
In case you missed this in the above recipe, just dry out the rest of the pasta completely (mine usually takes overnight plus much of the next day) and store them in an airtight bag in the fridge. They'll last in there a few weeks if you don't use them first!

How much did this cost me?

I used just over 500g of organic wholemeal flour, which would've cost me $2. The parsley needed to be used up anyway! 4 organic, free-range eggs were $2 ... So 10+ portions of fresh pasta cost me about $4 to make! The amount of organic butter I used in the sauce was about $0.70 (on special), the organic lemon (on special!) was about $0.30, and the organic garlic was about $0.50. I didn't use much cheese, so we'll estimate another $0.50 for that.

So for $6 (plus salad expenses), I got a great pasta dinner plus pasta leftover for a yummy lasagne in a couple of days!
Amanda xx


Temma said... [Reply to comment]

This sounds so good! Next time I'm stuck with a big bunch of extra parsley, I'm definitely going to try making it- your post has convinced me to stop being afraid of making my own pasta. Thanks!

Amanda @ easypeasyorganic said... [Reply to comment]

Definitely, give it a try! And let us know how you go :)

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...