August 05, 2011

Homemade Spinach Pasta with Lemon Artichoke Cream Sauce

My favorite toy I ever got for Christmas was not a barbie or a lego set, it was a pasta roller attachment for my stand mixer two years ago.  The funny thing - I didn't want it originally for pasta, it was for pierogis!  I hated rolling out the especially springy dough and thought that would be the easiest way to mass produce pierogis and not leave any filling behind.  While I still have not been able to do that, I have learned a thing or two about making pasta!

Frozen chopped spinach is the star of this dish for its flavor, color, and saved time!  Frozen vegetables are not only a great convenience, because they are flash frozen at their ripest they retain fresh flavor.  I always keep frozen corn, peas, edamame, and broccoli in my freezer for any dish that may require a quick vegetable addition.  In this instance, I also took advantage of frozen artichokes.  These are a great option because fresh artichokes are a pain to prepare and jarred marinated artichokes are a little too powerful to combine in light sauces.

Homemade Spinach Pasta with Lemon Artichoke Cream Sauce
1 10oz box of frozen spinach
4 eggs
4 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
olive oil or water to bring together
Lemon Artichoke Cream Sauce
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
5 oz artichokes, thawed and chunked
2-3 roasted red peppers, cut in strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp cream
salt and pepper
pasta water as needed

Pasta:  Microwave the spinach to thaw and wring out all liquid using a kitchen towel or cheese cloth (when it's safe to handle).  In a food processor or a blender, combine the eggs and drained spinach until it is a dark green color.

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the dough kneader hook, add the spinach and eggs and begin to mix on low.  Once the egg mixture is incorporated, add either olive oil or water until the dough combined.  I added about 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is tacky but not sticky.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes, covered.

Combined Dough - Tacky but not Sticky!
Separate the dough into 6 equal parts.  Roll into small rectangles, wide enough to feed into the pasta attachment.  Start at the lowest (widest) setting of your pasta roller, sprinkle the roller with flour, and feed through about 2-3 times.  Repeat for each level until you have the desired thickness of your pasta.  I went to the 6 setting, thin but not see-through, and then cut the pasta with the fettucine attachment.  Sprinkle flour on top to avoid the pasta from sticking.

Rolling the Pasta
Cook the pasta for about 5 minutes in boiling salted water, until al dente.  Save the pasta water.

Finished Noodles!

Lemon Artichoke Cream Sauce:  Start with the butter and the olive oil at medium low heat.  Saute the garlic until it starts to brown, then add the chunked artichoke pieces.  After 3 minutes or so, add the zest and juice of the lemon and let the flavors combine for about 5 minutes.  Next, add the cream and roasted red pepper strips and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta.  If the sauce is too thick to completely coat, add a spoonful of pasta water.  Decorate with roasted red pepper strips and serve!

The sauce is tangy and bright but still lets the artichokes, red peppers, and spinach shine.  While making your own pasta is a bit time consuming, the results are completely worth it!

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