How-to: Green Pasta
One of my favorite pasta dishes is tagliatelle or fettuccine served with pesto sauce and chicken. Whenever I'd go to Italian restaurants, I would be green with envy over its color - but also at how simple yet tasty it is. You've got the nuttiness from the pine nuts and perfect richness from the olive oil and cheese. It's so good that I would still be satisfied even without any protein in it (a rare sentiment from me when it comes to pasta).
I've attempted to make this dish many times but have always been disappointed. While the taste is good, I've never been able to figure out why the green color isn't as vibrant as the versions in restaurants. Eventually I realized that it was because I never made my pasta dough green to start with! Doh!
Naturally, quarantine felt like the perfect time to test with some coloring for my dough! Note: This is my first time using spinach purée to make a green color. What I will say is: Be careful with how much purée you add. It can make the dough very watery and tricky to work with when you're trying to flatten and cut/shape. I moved through the steps as quickly as possible, and it worked out (thankfully)!
Fresh fettuccine made with spinach purée.
Fresh fettuccine made with spinach purée, then tossed in homemade pesto sauce.
Spinach Green Pasta
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 5 min
1.5 cups flour
1/4 cup flour (reserve)
2 cups spinach
1/4 tsp salt
Using a blender, pulse spinach until it turns into a liquid purée. Use a strainer to remove clumps of spinach (keeping just the liquid).
On a large board or surface, add 1.5 cups of flour. Use a measuring cup or spoon to create a 'well' in the middle of the flour pile. Add egg to the center. Using your hands or fork, start mixing by folding outside flour into the center.
Note: If you have a standing mixer, simply add all ingredients until dough is formed.
Once the egg is incorporated into the flour, start adding the spinach liquid a little bit at a time. Keep mixing until there is no more spinach liquid left and dough has been formed.
Knead the dough until texture is fairly smooth. Sprinkle in your flour reserve as needed (to dough if too wet; to the board if too sticky).
Form dough into a flattened ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for about 30 minutes.
Cut and roll dough as desired (by hand or by machine).
Once pasta is ready, lay out to dry or cook immediately in boiling water.
Note: Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dry pasta. It should only take 2-4 minutes, depending on your preference in texture.
Serve with your favorite sauce. In this example, I used homemade pesto sauce. Click here for my pesto recipe, which you can make using a traditional mortar and pestle or with a food processor.