Super Easy 5-Ingredient Homemade Frascatelli Pasta with Mustard Greens & Parmesan Cheese (Vegetarian or Vegan)



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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My Farm Fresh to You delivery came today & there were mustard greens in there.  I’ve never cooked with them so I Googled them for some inspiration.  And did I find it!!!  The mustard greens in a recipe – sure.  But the revelation is the FRASCATELLI!    I had never heard of frascatelli before & I was intrigued.  It was the photo below (from Bon Appetit) that caught my eye. Looks like gnocchi.  I read more & discovered it was a 2 ingredient pasta that required no tools or resting time.  I had to try it.  Immediately!


Incredibly, frascatelli is as easy to make as the instructions suggested & I am certain I will be making this stuff over & over again.

The process is to spread out 2 cups of semolina flour & splatter it with water.  Then scoop it up, put it in a colander & shake it around.  Tiny dumplings form & the rest of the semolina falls back to the work surface.  Repeat.  When all my flour was used up – I manually pressed some of the teensy bits into larger dumplings but that is not necessary.  And guess what?  You can cook it immediately & it is done in 30-60 SECONDS.  Yes – seconds.  You MUST try this.  It would be a great thing to make with kids.  I think they would love the process.  Here are the directions from Bon Appetit:

  • Spread semolina flour in an even layer in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Fill a small bowl with 1 cup water and set next to dish. Working in 4-5 batches, gather your fingertips and thumb of 1 hand together and, working quickly, dip into bowl of water, lift hand from bowl, and splatter water over semolina. Repeat several times until surface of semolina is dotted with ragged wet patches about the size of a nickel. Let stand until water is absorbed, forming individual dumplings, about 5 seconds. Using a fish spatula or slotted spoon, turn dumplings over to coat with semolina, then transfer to a sieve. Shake gently over same baking dish to remove excess semolina; transfer dumplings to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining semolina and water until all of the water or all of the semolina has been used (there may be some water or semolina left over).
  • Working in 3-4 batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of slowly boiling salted water (if the water is boiling too rapidly, it may break up the dumplings), gently swirling water once or twice to prevent sticking, until al dente, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer frascatelli to another large rimmed baking sheet.

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Frascatelli is like a softer cavatelli or a chewier & more dense gnocchi.    Worked great with the cheese & mustard greens but a red sauce or cream sauce or anything would work with this stuff.  Just amazing!  I have no idea how frascatelli was not on my radar until today.

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5-Ingredient Homemade Frascatelli Pasta with Mustard Greens & Parmesan Cheese (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 2 very well


2 cups semolina flour

1 bunch mustard greens (or collard greens or spinach or arugula or chard) – ribs removed & chopped

2-3 TBS butter (or vegan butter or olive oil)

1-6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup Parmesan – vegan or otherwise (or any other cheese/vegan cheese you like blended into pasta)

OPTIONAL  – Crushed red pepper, S&P

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Make the frascatelli & set aside.

Prep the other ingredients.

Bring a pot of salted water to a slow boil & immerse the frascatelli.  Stir so it doesn’t stick.  Scoop out a cup or two of the boiling pasta water & reserve it.  In 30-60 seconds – drain the frascatelli & set it aside.

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Heat the butter (or vegan butter or olive oil) in a large saute pan.  Add the frascatelli.  Warm it through – stirring but trying not to crush or mush the dumplings.  I added some crushed red pepper here – about 1 TBS.

Add the garlic & greens.  Stir in a little of the reserved pasta water to wilt the greens.

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Add the cheese & some more pasta water (only use as much water as you need to melt & blend the cheese).  I added a bit of salt & a bunch of pepper.

Serve with extra cheese.

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Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce AND a Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


Valentine’s Day.  A perfect excuse for magenta food items.

I love beets and I am always surprised when people say they hate them – mostly because beet salads are such a common thing on menus.  That alone suggests they are popular but whenever I am questioning a person who claims to eat everything about whether they eat the most controversial foods (mushrooms, eggplant, seafood, garlic, peas, Brussel sprouts & beets) – I often get a negative response to all of those – including beets.

Anyway – I think they are wonderful and I love their vibrant color.  One note – if you eat these bright red vegetables – your subsequent visits to the restroom could be alarming.  All that pigment in the beets will go right through you and you might look into the toilet bowl & fear you are bleeding to death.  You are not.  Just FYI.

Another thing – beets WILL dye your clothes & hands – so – wear dark clothing or an apron when working with them.   Also – the cavatelli, the sauce & the salad all call for roasted beets.  So – roast a whole bunch at once – and roast some garlic along with them.  And lastly – cook the cavatelli within a few hours of making them.  I let mine sit out too long & I think they suffered for it.


First – the salad.


Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame


Roasted beets


toasted pecans

goat cheese – crumbled

red onion – shaved VERY thin


1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon

S&P to taste

Blend the last five ingredients for the dressing.

Halve the beets (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.

Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan until fragrant – being careful not to burn them.

When the beets are done, cool them & slice or cube them up & toss with some dressing.

Arrange the ingredients on plates & add more dressing.


Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce


For the cavatelli

2 cups flour

3 TBS olive oil

2 eggs

2 TBS water

1 tsp salt

1 large roasted beet


Halve the beet (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.


Puree the beet with all the other ingredients – except the flour – until the beet is completely broken up.  At this point – I put the flour & beet puree in my bread machine & let it do the dirty work of kneading the dough.  You could probably pulse the flour into the food processor in increments.  Or – create a flour well on a counter or in a bowl & blend into a dough.  Knead it until it is smooth & pliable.


In sections, roll the dough into snakes & then cut into 3/4 inch chunks & roll into little hot dog shapes.


Check out this woman (at about 2:00) and how she rolls out the cavatelli.

I rolled mine on a gnocchi board.


For the beet & caramelized fennel sauce


1 fennel bulb – shaved or sliced very thin – dilly parts saved for garnish

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1 TBS olive oil

3 shallots – chopped

4 roasted beets (tossed in olive oil and roasted at 450 for 45 minutes or til done)

4 roasted garlic cloves (roasted with the beets but removed from the oven after about 30 min)

1 tomato – quartered

4 oz goat cheese

3 oz cream cheese (or more goat cheese)

Fresh parsley – chopped

Fresh grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

S&P to taste


Roast the beets & garlic.

With a mortar & pestle, grind the rosemary into 1 tsp salt.


Heat 1 TBS olive oil & cook the shallots & fennel for 5-7 minutes – or until browned.  Add the rosemary salt.


In a food processor – blend the roasted beets, roasted garlic, caramelized fennel & shallots, tomato, goat cheese, cream cheese and S&P to taste.  Add water if it is too thick.


Cook the cavatelli in boiling water until they all float to the top.  Drain them & toss with the sauce.  Garnish with more crumbled goat cheese and grated Parmesan & chopped parsley and/or the dilly part of the fennel.

Enjoy!  And have a happy Valentine’s Day!