Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oodles of Green...Noodles!

So, I gave you a peek of the sausage tradition in Len's family, and Len posted his latest bread recipe. Now here's some good food from my side of the family.

My mom and my sister made spinach lasagna noodles (and then later the whole dish, of course)from scratch.

There's my sis spreading the sheets of rolled-out dough:
If you like to play with your food, homemade pasta is for you. It's very hands-on. My great grandma was Italian, and she used to tell me that she could never roll her ravioli dough as thin as her mom could (isn't that always the case?). I've tried rolling pasta dough with just a rolling pin. It's much easier with a manual pasta maker, which has a knob to adjust how close together the rollers are, so you can keep feeding the dough through, rolling it thinner and thinner.
The dough is basically eggs and flour. So far, I've only used all-purpose flour, but many recipes call for semolina, and now that we have some in the house (see Len's aforementioned bread recipe), I'm going to try it to see the difference. I'll keep you posted, so to speak.
For the spinach pasta dough, Mom and Sis cooked, drained and pureed some spinach and incorporated it into the dough. Voila! Green noodles.
To cut out the individual lasagna noodles from the thin sheets, they used a special pasta cutter (think pizza wheel meets pinking shears).
The result:

Another great thing about fresh, homemade pasta is that it needs less time to boil than dried pasta. Yes, that benefit is countered by the time it takes to mix, roll and cut the dough, but those steps really are easy and don't take very long (if you make pasta a lot, you could probably do it in the time it takes a large pot of water to boil). Besides—and here's the whole point—it's fun!

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