Fresh Vegan Pasta Dough and Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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I am not vegan but I like to minimize my egg consumption.  I make homemade pasta all the time & I adore it.  I have posted recipes here for regular pasta dough, spinach pasta dough, kale pasta dough, beet pasta dough, cilantro & serrano pasta dough and arugula pasta dough but each of these used eggs.

I hunted around a bit & found THIS recipe on The Passionate Parsley blog.  Many of the other recipes I found seemed really to just be this one – so I tried it.

Vegan Pasta Dough

5.5 c all purpose flour (more as needed)
1.5 c water (more as needed)
1/2 t turmeric
1 t sea salt
2 t olive oil

I just mixed all this in my bread machine & then, after I let it rest a bit, I made spaghetti from it using my stand mixer & THIS awesome attachment.

To be honest – I prefer the non-vegan pasta substantially.  I found that this vegan version has a less pleasant texture & a far stronger flavor of flour.  So – where I recommend delicate toppings for the egg pastas so their subtleties can be appreciated – I think this vegan pasta needs more powerfully flavored sauces – even more flavorful than this broccoli pesto – but that is just me.

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(photo stolen from HERE)

You could do this or, if you are ambitious, make it all by hand as instructed by The Passionate Parsley blog.

I added a but more turmeric than suggested & my spaghetti looked like this as it sat out drying.

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I happened to have a boatload of broccoli around & decided to make a vegan pesto from it to top the noodles.

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Vegan Broccoli Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2+ cups broccoli (steamed or boiled for 3 minutes or until vibrant & tender – drained & rinsed with cold water)

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup parsley

1/2 cup fresh mint

3-4 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

S&P

water

1/2 cup vegan (or real) Parmesan (I did not use this but I think it needs it)

Parsley or basil as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.  Add water if need be to thin it.  Or olive oil but I feel water is just fine.  S&P to taste.

If you want to – add some vegan (or real) Parmesan & blend it in.  Keep at room temperature because this is a raw pesto that just mixes in with the warm pasta.

When you are ready to eat – boil the pasta until it floats & drain.  Drizzle some olive oil on it & toss to prevent it from sticking.  Then toss with a small amount of pesto & add in increments until it is the way you like it.

Garnish with grated vegan (or real) cheese & chopped herbs.

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Homemade Parsley Pappardelle with Roasted Tomatoes & Creamy Chanterelle Mushrooms

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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.

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I make homemade pasta a lot.  Pappardelle might be one of the easiest ones.  I have posted various shapes & flavors of homemade pasta in the past – the most basic being fettucini.  The recipe is HERE.  That recipe uses a manual pasta roller but you could roll it out with a rolling pin – if you were feeling super motivated.  Homemade pasta really is different than dry, packaged pasta and I recommend making the modest investment in one of THESE GUYS – the stainless steel jobbies – they can usually be had for about $30.  Otherwise, maybe buy fresh pasta or just use a boxed one.

To make this pappardelle, I added a handful of chopped parsley to the dough and rolled it out with a manual roller.  I then cut it free-form with a knife – resulting in all kinds of thicknesses. I like the artisan/rustic feel that is the result of the lack of uniformity.

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Roasting tomatoes is a great way to add to their shelf life.  If they are starting to get shriveled up on the counter – chop them & roast them with some garlic & you get several more days out of them.  Use them in pasta or on pizza or even as a garnish on soups or spread on sandwiches.  Yum.

I used chanterelle mushrooms because Costco had them but, really, any mushroom would work in this recipe.

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Homemade Parsley Pappardelle with Roasted Tomatoes & Creamy Chanterelle Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

Pasta for two as described above or any pasta of your choice.

For the roasted tomatoes

10-20 grape or cherry tomatoes – halved

olive oil

4 garlic – chopped

A few fresh rosemary sprigs – stems removed & chopped

S&P

For the creamy chanterelle mushrooms

1 lb mushrooms – sliced

1/2 onion – diced

olive oil

5 garlic cloves – diced

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup sherry or dry white wine or Marsala

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper – or to taste

1 TBS lemon juice

S&P

Parmesan as garnish

Parsley as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the roasted tomatoes

Toss the halved tomatoes with the diced garlic, rosemary, 1-2 TBS olive oil and S&P.  Roast on parchment or otherwise lined cooking sheet at about 350-40 for 20-25 minutes.  Set aside.

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For the creamy chanterelle mushrooms

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Cook the onions until soft – maybe 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & stir for another minute.  Put them in a bowl.

In the same pan, heat another TBS olive oil over high heat & sear the mushrooms adding a pinch of salt & the crushed red pepper.  When they seem browned a bit, deglaze the pan with the sherry or wine.  Cook at high for a minute or two.  Add the lemon juice & stir it in for a minute.  Add the onion & garlic and the heavy cream and 1 tsp black pepper.  Heat over medium until the sauce is thick & creamy – which should happen fast.  Simmer on low (add water if it gets too thick) while you cook the pasta.

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Cook the pasta & drain.

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Put a bit of pasta on each plate.  Top with the mushrooms & some roasted tomato & garnish with lots of freshly grated Parmesan & some parsley.  Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Spinach Pizza Crust Dough

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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.

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Hey guys!  I wrote a funny novel!  I hope you will check it out!  www.BathingBook.com

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Inspired by the success of my cauliflower tortillas and my earlier cauliflower pizza crust & quinoa pizza crust recipes – I decided to attempt a spinach-based pizza crust.  My issues with this spinach crust are that 1) cooked, it isn’t that vibrant green and, hence, isn’t the prettiest crust I’ve ever seen and 2) that the recipe calls for a full cup of grated mozzarella & and egg which, combined, add about 430 calories or so to the crust itself.  In contrast, the cauliflower tortillas only require 3 eggs which is a total of about 270 calories.  So – if calories are your concern – go cauliflower.  If the issue is gluten & calories don’t matter – then I suggest trying them all because, despite the fact that the spinach crust was a tad higher in calories and was pretty soft as far as crusts go, it was really delicious!  I was surprised at how delicious – because (frankly) it did not look so appetizing.

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The recipe is super easy (if you have a food processor) so do not be intimidated.  The spices I added were sort of random so you can either use them or not or go a different way but this version is very tasty!  One thing, though – be sure to use parchment paper because, due to the cheese, this dough can get very sticky.

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Gluten-Free Spinach Pizza Crust Dough

INGREDIENTS

2 cups tightly packed fresh spinach (or more)

1 cup packed grated mozzarella cheese (or more)

1 egg

1 tsp each: dry oregano, dry basil, dry parsley, onion powder, garlic powder

S&P to taste

PARCHMENT PAPER (critical)

DIRECTIONS

Puree the spinach in your food processor.

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Add the cheese & egg & blend.  Add spices & blend.

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Line a pizza pan with parchment paper & press the spinach mix onto it in the shape you want your pizza to be.

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Bake it at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Check to be sure it doesn’t overcook.  Mine was thinner in some places & browned a bit too much.

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Ideally, only the edges would be browned.

I then lined a second pizza pan with parchment paper & flipped the dough over onto it.

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This step was probably unnecessary as the pizza crust was pretty resilient at the oint and the flipping didn’t result in a crispy result (my aim).  So – feel free to just top the thing without the flipping.  I topped mine with whipped feta (4 oz feta + 1 oz cream cheese plus 1 tsp lemon zest, a tsp water & some pepper – blended in a food processor), sliced tomato, additional fresh spinach, chopped roasted peppers, red onion, grated mozzarella & some fresh mozzarella.  I cooked it at about 350 for 20 minutes or so.  Y.U.M.M.Y!

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Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu

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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.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Stracnar & stracenate are both the same name for a pasta that originated in the Puglia area of Italy.  Stracenate is essentially an egg pasta that is rolled thin & then rolled over a cavarola board & embossed with a pattern.  The cavarola board looks like this (Photo courtesy of AdriBarrCrocetti.com)

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These are very hard to find & the few I could find cost over $60.  I didn’t want to commit that kind of money to what could end up being a one-use item – so I tracked this tiny plastic version down & bought it for $14 HERE.

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Actually, I didn’t expect it to be tiny – but it is.  It is like 2″x3″.  I would much prefer a larger one that could imprint as much pasta as possible in one go.  As it was – I had to cut my homemade paste into tiny squares & then run each one, individually, over this little guy.

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It wasn’t difficult to roll these guys out.  The little plastic cavarola came with a little grippy thing to put under it & a tiny rolling pin.  I quickly moved on to my real rolling pin but, though this is a sorta slow process, it was satisfying & kinda Zen to do.  I didn’t bother attempting any uniformity of shape.  The rustic, variations bothered me less than trying over & over to roll out uniform strips of rectangular pasta.  After about an hour total – I had stracenate for four drying on my counter.

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The fact is, you can make this pasta & just blow off the embossing part.  Once cooked, the imprint is somewhat less noticeable, anyway, and it is purely an aesthetic.

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It is really just an old-school throwback to a regional, Italian, artisanal pasta and I love that kinda thing – so I did it.  Plus – I have far too much time on my hands & making pasta of all kinds has a really calming effect on me.  And homemade pasta is as delicious as it is gratifying.

For this dish, I used the other half head of cauliflower I had after my Kraft Cauliflower No-Mac & Cheese endeavor.   I used tomatoes for color & clams for texture.   You could leave any one of those out & compensate with more of another & still get a great ragu.  I didn’t use live clams because of a clam Holocaust I caused a while back recounted here in my Arugula Bucatini & Spicy Clam Sauce post.  Also – this video bums me out.  How can you throw these guys into steaming pots?  Oof!

As to homemade pasta – my “tutorial” for that is HERE.  You could simply roll that dough out thin & cut it into rectangles with a knife & declare yourself a stracanate maker.  Who’s gonna call you on that shit?  Nobody.  Nobody who wants to eat your homemade stracanate, that is.  If another kind of pasta seems preferable – look HERE for a pretty decent selection of pasta doughs I have posted over the last year – doughs made from spinach or kale or arugula or beets or serrano/cilantro – etc etc.  Or – just use any shape boxed pasta.

A quick aside about quantity of spices: I like my food heavily spiced & very garlicky.  But – you can use things like crushed red pepper & garlic to suit your own taste – added to or subtracting from my suggestions.  That said – my boyfriend Miles (looking super badass in Texas last March)

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and I ordered a pizza delivered from the awesome Village Pizzeria.  They sent a little plastic container or crushed red pepper with the pizza.  It is THE HOTTEST fucking crushed red pepper on Earth.  I use 1/2 tsp of this stuff where I would use 3 TBS of the stuff in my cabinet.  I am guessing that they must just go through theirs very quickly so it is always fresh & powerful where my Costco-sized container sits on my shelf for over a year and become less potent.  At any rate – I bring this up because I typically suggest FAR larger amounts of crushed red pepper than I do in this recipe & that is because I was using the Village Pizzeria stuff.  The amount you really use is up to you & the spiciness of whatever crushed red pepper you are using.  I had no idea the spice factor could vary as much as the two different containers I have here – and I have no way of knowing how spicy YOUR crushed red pepper is – so – just spice this up to your taste.

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Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu

(This feeds two very well)

INGREDIENTS

2 servings homemade stracenate (stracnar) or 1/2 lb dry pasta (perhaps a pappardelle?)

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into bite-sized florets

12 cherry tomatoes – halved or quartered (plus more for garnish)

2 (6.5 oz) cans clams

6 (or less) cloves of garlic – chopped coarsely

1 small onion – diced

Lots of chopped parsley plus garnish

1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

Olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Make your pasta or get a box out of the pantry.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large pan.  Pan-fry the cauliflower florets by letting them sit about a minute at a time on the hot pan – unmolested – before stirring them so that you get some browning as they cook.  Once browned & tender – put them in a bowl & set aside.

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If needed, add another TBS olive oil to the pan & saute the onion, tomato & crushed red pepper until the onion is soft & browning a bit.  In the photos below, you can see I left my garlic in pretty sizable chunks.  I find it is harder to burn that way – but it also results in you biting into huge garlic bits.  I have no issue with that.  If you do – cut your garlic smaller.

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Add your garlic & saute a minute or two & then add the clams (with the juice from the cans) and the cauliflower.  Add a handful of chopped, fresh parsley & add S&P to taste.  Heat through and allow to rest over lowest heat.

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Cook your pasta.  Homemade pasta is done when it floats to the top of boiling water.  Boxed pasta has instructions.

Drain the pasta, arrange some on plates & top with the ragu.  Garnish with additional raw, chopped tomato and/or parsley.  Enjoy your Italian stay-cation!

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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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.

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If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I am obsessed with cauliflower.  It can be used to replace or replicate so many things and is inexpensive & free of so many things many people are trying to avoid, like carbs, calories & gluten.  This pizza crust was not my first attempt at using cauliflower as a base for pizza but, the last time I tried it, I wasn’t blogging so the results were never made public.  The results were that it tasted good but I thought it used too much cheese & felt like it was worse for you than regular pizza dough.

This crust is lighter & smelled incredible cooking, but it was a tad moist for my taste & didn’t set together as well as I’d hoped.  In fairness, no cauliflower crust is going to fool anyone into thinking they are eating a standard issue pizza on dough but this one still isn’t perfected.  I did dump a lot of wet ingredients on it (sliced tomatoes & fresh mozzarella) and that definitely contributed to the moisture factor.  Still, I could pick it up & eat it like a slice – just not a crispy one.

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The cooking time on this one will likely vary for everyone – depending on the calibration of your oven & how much moisture you manage to squeeze out of the cooked cauliflower rice & how thick you make your crust.  I kept going in five minute increments from the initial 25 minute cooking time I guessed at until it looked like this:

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I then transferred it (and tore it in the process) to this wire pizza rack thing I have – hoping the vented rack would allow the oven to dry the crust out more.  It looks like this:

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It didn’t really help.  Next time – I might start with the wire rack & cook the dough on parchment atop that & see if it impacts the crispness of the crust.

All that said – this pizza crust was very tasty & even my dogs gobbled up the cauliflower crust I gave them.  That might seem obvious to you but my Dexter is a very finicky eater.  So – I do not want to discourage you from trying this.  The spices I added were sort of random.  You can use the ones I did or not – or you can add some of your own.  Rosemary might be nice!

The pizza you see here that I made is finished with a tomato sauce, fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella & basil on one side & my Chard Pesto (which I recommend VERY highly) on the other.  You can top your crust any way you like.

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head cauliflower

1 egg – beaten

4 oz. goat cheese

1 TBS dry oregano

1 TBS dry parsley

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Chop your cauliflower & then either pulse it in your food processor (or, as I did, use the grater blade) and reduce the cauliflower to a rice-like consistency.  A regular cheese grater will work, too, but one of the drawbacks to cauliflower is that it pops everywhere when you cut it raw & it gets messy.  Still – the rice cauliflower can be achieved with just a regular cheese grater.

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Boil about an inch of water in a large stock pot.  Boil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Drain it through a fine mesh sieve.  Cool it with cold water & then, in batches, wrap it is a clean kitchen towel & twist it tighter & tighter – squeezing out every bit of water you can.

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In a large bowl, beat the egg then add all the remaining ingredients, including the cauliflower.  With your hands, completely blend the ingredients into a moist dough.

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Line your pizza pan with parchment paper or REALLY grease it.  I suggest the paper – but in a pinch – grease will work.  I just fear it will stick to the pan on you.  No need to grease the parchment, though.  Press your dough into your pizza’s shape – even creating the deep crust on the edges, if you like.  Your pizza dough should be about 1/3 inch thick or so in the flat part.

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Bake this for about 30-45 minutes – watching it carefully because it will go from not done to burned in a flash.  When it reaches a nice golden color take it out of the oven.  Top it with your toppings & cook until your cheese is melted.  Voila!

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Homemade Arugula Pasta Dough & Bucatini

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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.

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Last week I posted two things on my Facebook wall that had unexpected consequences.  One was that I posted an “OMG – I MUST have this pasta cutter!” and another was an RIP announcement for my old Cuisinart food processor.  The repercussions?  On my birthday Tuesday, my friend Randy stepped up & offered me his unused Cuisinart which I gratefully accepted.  I use my food processor almost every day – often several times.  Life without one would be unimaginable.  Then, my friend Rose announced she had the pasta cutter thingy & she never used that.  She wrapped it up and gave it to me for my birthday.  AND – my mother secretly went ahead & bought me the pasta cutter, too and then a bunch of my friends got together & chipped in & bought me a brand new Cuisinart!  So – I will return the pasta cutter my mother was generous enough to send me but the second Cuisinart means no more digging through the dishwasher midway through its cleaning process to ferret out the work bowl & blades for the food processor.  Now I can have TWO working food processors going at once!  And trust me – I will.

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I got home last night at midnight with the new Cuisinart & pasta cutter and now, 11 hours later, I have slept & already used them both and created this outrageous ARUGULA BUCATINI!

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Actually – I thought I was making bucatini until I was done.  Then I saw that the blade read “small macaroni.”  But what is the difference?  Well – the bucatini press creates smooth, rather than ridged, tubes and, if you are making small macaroni, you cut the tubes shorter, obviously. But fuck it.  I’m calling this bucatini – long, hollow pasta.  If you do not have this crazy pasta cutter – you can simply roll this dough flat & thin & hand cut it with a knife and create pappardelle – like I did HERE.

I added 5 oz of arugula to the dough & voila!  Try it.  It is easy – especially if you have all these incredible kitchen devices.  If not – it can still be done – just with a bit more elbow grease.  I have several varieties of pasta posted on this blog including simple egg pasta, spinach pasta, cilantro-serrano pasta, kale pasta, lemon-pepper pasta, orecchiette, pumpkin gnocchi, beet cavatelli and beet ravioli – and each illustrates a different way to execute homemade pasta.  Some, like the cavatelli & orecchiette, are vegan and neither of these requires special tools.  Others – like today’s post – kinda require you have a few appliances.   Just know – there is an easy, homemade pasta for every level of cook – with or without fancy tools.

I realized today as I made this that I used 1) the new Cuisinart 2) the new pasta cutter 3) my bread machine & 4) my Kitchenaid stand mixer – and I realized that each of these tools were given to me by others.  What well chosen gifts they were, too!  I use – and will use – them almost every day until they die.  Or I do.  So – THANK YOU – all you folks that invested in my love of cooking!

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Arugula Pasta Dough & Bucatini

INGREDIENTS

5 oz fresh arugula

3 1/2 cups flour

4 eggs

1 tsp salt

water & extra flour for kneading

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the arugula in boiling water for about 30 seconds, drain & run under cold water.  Squeeze out the excess water & blend the arugula with the eggs in a food processor.

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I put the flour, salt & egg-arugula mix into my bread machine & let it run a few minutes on the “pasta dough” cycle.  Alternatively, you can create a well with the flour & put the egg mix & salt in the center.  Slowly incorporate all the flour into the eggs as illustrated HERE.  Then you can roll it thin with a rolling pin & cut pappardelle like I did HERE.  Or – if you have the tools – you can cut it into a tubed pasta – as I did.

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Look at how easy this incredible thing is to use!

Let it dry and hour or more.  To cook – simply add the pasta to boiling water & cook until it floats to the surface – usually less than a minute – unless it is a more dense pasta like this.  The bucatini took over ten minutes to be al dente.   Serve with the sauce of your choice!

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Quick & Easy Quinoa Pizza Dough (Gluten Free)

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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.

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Hey!  It’s my book!  Why not read it?  It is HILARIOUS – I promise!

Fair warning – this recipe is definitely a work in progress but, I feel, it was successful enough to post the early results.

As is often the case with me, recipes are born of what I had handy.  In this case – I had a ton of cooked quinoa.  I eat way too much pizza and finding a less guilty version of it is always my goal.  Why not make a pizza crust from this quinoa, I thought.  Why not, indeed.  I Googled recipes for it and they were all so complex, requiring 8 hour soaking of dry quinoa (that ship had sailed – as mine was cooked) or sorghum flour, tapioca flour or nutritional yeast.  I was frustrated by the ingredients or the process (or both) in each case so I decided just to wing it.

But first – what is quinoa, you ask?  Here is an explanation:

What is quinoa?
While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. Try a quinoa pilaf salad recipe, or serve a vegetable stir-fryover cooked quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is my favorite whole grain for three reasons: First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, quinoa tastes great on its own, unlike other grains such as millet. Add a bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and – yum! Finally, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic.

Secondly – how the frig do you pronounce it?  Keen-wah.

OK – so, my finished dough had a set Jello consistency when raw – and it jiggled if you shook it.  It was also VERY sticky.  Most recipes described their dough as pourable – like pancake batter.  That seemed odd to me so I chose to thicken my dough with potato flour.  Having cooked one from this jello dough – I found the edges crisped but the center stayed sorta soft.  Perhaps the pourable dough lets go of its moisture better while cooking.  I will experiment & report back.   Either way – this was a fairly decent success & I would not dissuade you from attempting it.  One note – this definitely works as a pizza base but it is NOT bready.   This pizza dough is to traditional pizza dough what a Gardenburger is to a hamburger – a decent substitute.  Do not expect an old school New York slice from this dough.  That said – I found it quite delicious!

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Quick & Easy Quinoa Pizza Dough (Gluten Free)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups quinoa – already cooked in vegetable stock

1/4 tsp each (optional) of: oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, garlic powder

1 tsp each of salt & pepper

2 TBS olive oil

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup (or less) potato flour

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients (except potato flour) in a food processor until very smooth – maybe 1-2 minutes.  Add the flour slowly using as much as you care to.  I used the whole 1/2 cup of potato flour.  I then rested the sticky dough on a sheet of wax paper greased with cooking spray & covered it with plastic wrap also greased with cooking spray.  I let it rest all day – but only because I made this midday & I was using it for dinner.  You could just proceed immediately.

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Be sure your oven is pre-heated to 450 degrees and that the oven has reached that temperature.  I greased a small pizza pan with cooking spray (greased parchment paper might help here, too) & spread 1/2 my dough on it with my palm – wetting my hand under running water after each pass.  Wet hands keep the dough from sticking to you.  I pressed it as thin as I could manage & baked it about 15 minutes.

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I then took a larger pizza pan, topped the smaller one and, wearing oven mitts, flipped the dough from the smaller pizza pan to the larger.  You could try just flipping the dough with spatulas, too.  I baked the second side 10-15 minutes – until it looked sorta golden.  I flipped it again & topped the pizza (in this case with: red pepper-tomato sauce and a grated cheese blend) and baked it until the cheese began to brown – maybe another 10-15 minutes.

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I removed it from the oven & topped this with chopped, fresh grape tomatoes & sliced fresh basil.  I ate it.  I enjoyed.

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Fresh Cilantro & Serrano Homemade Pasta with Grilled Chili-Lime Shrimp & Avocado

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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.

People must be tired of hearing me declare than the dishes I make are inspired by or limited to ingredients I already have on hand – but it is very often true – and will be more true in the future. I spent $8200 last year on groceries (which includes beer & wine for ME & for dinner parties etc).  I live alone!  $700 a month on groceries is obscene – even for a food porn blogger.

I bought a bag of 5 avocados at Costco.  They were cheap (for avocados) but the problem is, you get 5 avocados all ripe at the same time.  So – you guessed it.  It’s going to be avocado city here for a bit.

I also had some cilantro & lots of serranos – hence this unconventional pasta.  I have been enjoying the challenge of creating new pasta varieties.  Homemade pasta is one of the most satisfying efforts you can ever engage in.  It is a completely different animal than dried pasta.  So light & never leaves you feeling stuffed – no matter how much you eat and the flavor is so gorgeous & subtle.  You really should try it!

The shrimp in this particular dish were of the frozen ilk – the kind that REALLY shrink when they cook.  They were still frozen when I put them in the marinade so I never cleaned them and they still had tails.  😦

I recommend using larger, fresher shrimp than the freezer burned ones I used here.  The marinade is not a science so don’t feel too anal about the ingredients.  Lose some, add others.  Marinades are very forgiving.

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Fresh Cilantro & Serrano Homemade Pasta

PASTA INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

1 large bunch cilantro – lower stems removed

3 serrano peppers – seeded & chopped

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

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PASTA DIRECTIONS

Put the cilantro & serranos into a food processor & blend with the salt  and eggs until the green ingredients are pureed.  Add the flour & process into a moist dough.   Knead the dough with a little extra flour until it loses all tackiness.  Then roll it out like instructed in the recipe here – PASTA DOUGH.  Add more flour if the dough rolls out wet.  Once you roll & cut the noodles – let them dry on a counter for at least an hour.  They will cook in boiling water in less than two minutes.  You can tell they are done because they begin to float up to the surface.  Do not salt the water as homemade noodles tend to absorb the salt quickly & that can over power their delicate flavor.

Drain the noodles – toss with a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.

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Grilled Chili-Lime Shrimp & Avocado

INGREDIENTS

20 Shrimp – peeled & cleaned

3 serrano peppers – seeded & diced

2 scallions – chopped

3 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 olive oil

2 TBS sambal oelek (chili paste) – or more if you like heat

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 TBS honey

2 stalks lemongrass – bruised & chopped (VERY optional)

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1 avocado

GARNISHES

Cilantro or parsley and extra lime wedges and maybe some chopped red jalapeno or tomato

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients EXCEPT the avocado & shrimp in a bowl.  Add shrimp & mix to coat well.  Marinate the shrimp in the fridge for at least an hour – but the longer the better.

Grill the shrimp or pan fry them. Err on the side of under-cooking a bit because they will continue to cook after you remove them from heat.

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Peel & chop the avocado.   Squeeze some lime or lemon juice onto it so it doesn’t brown.

To assemble – put pasta then shrimp & avocado on each plate & then garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley & lime wedges and chopped red jalapeno or tomato – if using.

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Indian Spinach & Garbanzo Curry (Chana Saag) Pot Pie Cupcakes in Homemade Herbed Tart Crust

6 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I don’t have a lot to say about this except for the fact that it takes a few steps, each step is very simple & these are wonderfully delicious.  I am going to post a more traditional pot pie recipe next – but these are really a winner!  I also hope you will make the tart dough yourself rather than buying some.  It takes 5 minutes, makes a huge difference & will make you very proud.

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Indian Spinach & Garbanzo Curry (Chana Saag) Pot Pie Cupcakes in Homemade Herbed Tart Crust

Homemade Herbed Tart Crust Pastry

enough for 12 cupcakes AND extra to top a full-sized pot pie

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

12 TBS butter (salted, if possible) – CHILLED and cubed

2 eggs

1+ TBS fresh thyme (or diced fresh sage or fresh parsley or fresh oregano) OPTIONAL

water

1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix the salt & flour together in your food processor (or in a bowl – as this dough could be made by hand – just not by me).

Pulse in the butter until it is incorporated into the dough.  Pulse in the fresh herbs.  Pulse in the two eggs.  Add water 1 TBS at a time until small lumps of dough form.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface.  I used a small bowl to cut out 24 circular disks.  I made them all the larger size required to line the bottoms of my cupcake pan.

Spray your cupcake tin with cooking spray and line each cup with pastry.

Refrigerate your pastry-lined tart pan for at least 30 minutes.

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Indian Spinach & Garbanzo Curry Pot Pie Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

13.4 oz Garbanzo Beans

4 packed cups (or more) chopped fresh spinach

3 TBS olive oil

1 medium onion – pureed in a food processor (or chopped VERY fine)

2 inch cube fresh ginger – pureed in a food processor (or chopped VERY fine)

3 cloves garlic – pureed in a food processor (or chopped VERY fine)

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS curry powder

1 TBS tomato paste or puree

1/2 cup of half & half (or whipping cream)

2 tsp ground coriander

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES.

Puree the onions, garlic & ginger in a food processor or chop them VERY fine.

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Heat the oil in a large saute pan & heat the cumin & curry powder.  Add the onion-garlic-ginger & fry.

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Add spinach, garbanzo beans, tomato sauce/paste, coriander and S&P.  Mix well.  Add the half & half (or whipping cream).  Stir & heat over medium heat for about ten minutes until the spinach is very wilted.  You shouldn’t need it – but add a small quantity of water if it gets too dry.  Remove from heat.

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Take your chilled cupcake tin lined with the chilled tart dough out of the fridge.  Fill each tin with the curried spinach mix being sure to spoon extra curry sauce gravy into each cupcake.  Top with the remaining tart dough disks & pinch to seal the edges.  Pierce with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife.

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until pastry is a lovely golden brown.  These should life out of the pan very easily & can be served immediately.  They reheat at the same temperature in about 5-10 minutes.

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Fresh Kale Fettuccine Pasta Noodles

8 Comments

10-5-12-7

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I had kale.  Now I have pasta.

This is a LOT easier if you have a stand mixer & the pasta attachments – than if you are using a manual pasta maker as I illustrated in my plain pasta recipe.

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I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere that incorporated the kale into the pasta itself.  I cannot imagine why – as kale is all the rage right now amongst healthy eaters & obnoxious foodies.  Maybe pasta is vulgar now.  Impossibly dated – like this fanciful Wiener Crown

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Or this even more beautiful centerpiece that I made for my friend Shelley’s Hawaiian/Zombie themed Bday party (I had been single a LONG time at this point in my life.  I guess you can see where my mind was.)

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That’s Shelley there.  Nice ART she has – eh?

Anyway – maybe I should be talking about wheatberries?  Or purple quinoa (Keen-wah – for those of you wondering).  But fuck everyone.  I’ve had more dental work in the last year than a Canadian high school hockey team.  I currently have temporary crowns on two molars – on opposite sides of my mouth.  (THIS is my life these days.  Watch – if you dare.)  Last night – I unknowingly ate half my body weight in my own still-numbed inner cheek flesh while I watched Obama lose the debate to a lying, smug arsehole who wants to sell the middle class so far down the river – we are all gonna want to self deport with the illegal Mexicans.  My mouth hurts, my head hurts & Republicans have gotten people who live below the poverty line to root for corporations to be allowed to poison their food, water, air & for insurance/pharmaceutical companies to be again allowed to fuck us into the stone age.  HARUMPH!

If I want pasta and not the far trendier farro & amaranth – I’m gonna have it!

OK – sure – I made it of KALE – but this is a food blog, after all, and I gotta try to do something special.  Right?

Anyway – all I did was make my spinach pasta but subbed a head of kale (8 or 9 oz after the big vein was removed from the leaves) for the 6 oz of spinach.  I really cannot understand why nobody else is making this.  Maybe when I boil it – it will fall apart?  Will it taste bitter?  I guess I will see & report back later.  (Update – they cooked up beautifully!!!!  See my Kale Fettuccine & Herbed Bean Pasta recipe!)

These noodles seemed a bit wetter & harder to get to gel than the spinach variety.  Also – I chose to stop pressing the dough flat about two settings before the thinnest setting.  I had to run the dough through the thickest setting – adding more flour & folding & re-pressing – about a dozen or more times for each portion I worked with.  This could get grueling with a manual crank.  Just an FYI.

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Fresh Kale Fettuccine Pasta Noodles

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups flour

1 head kale (8 or 9 oz after you remove the lare vein) – steamed (about 10 minutes) & squeezed dry

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 tsp salt

Put the steamed & squeezed dry spinach into a food processor & blend with the salt, eggs & egg yolk.  Add the flour & process into a moist dough.   Knead the dough with a little extra flour until it loses all tackiness.  Then roll it out like instructed in the recipe here – PASTA DOUGH.  Add more flour if the dough rolls out wet.  Once you roll & cut the noodles – let them dry on a counter for at least an hour.  They will cook in boiling water in less than two minutes.  You can tell they are done because they begin to float up to the surface.  Do not salt the water as homemade noodles tend to absorb the salt quickly & that can over power their delicate flavor.

Drain the noodles – toss with a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking together & the top with whatever sauce you are using.

Enjoy!

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Pizza Dough

31 Comments

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Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

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PIZZA DOUGH

This will make approximately 4 twelve inch round pizzas:

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup warm water

2-3 TBS active yeast

2-3 TBS Honey

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tsp salt

The easiest way to do this is to use a bread machine (putting liquid ingredients in first) & set it to a mix & single rise setting.  I have never done it manually but my friends have.  Just make mix the ingredients & knead it soft & then let it rise on a floured surface for about an hour or two.  It can then be used immediately or refrigerated up to a week.

If you make pizza or flatbreads a lot (as I do – because it is cheap & fun) – I sincerely suggest spending the money to buy a bread machine on Ebay or elsewhere.  I make pizza several times a week.  I want to marry my bread machine.

The money saved eating pizza as often as I do will quickly justify the cost of the machine – which runs about $100 or less (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=cuisinart+bread+new+-tool+-pan+-paddle+-toast+-toaster+-knife&_sacat=0&_odkw=cuisinart+bread+new+-tool+-pan+-paddle+-toast&LH_BIN=1&_sop=15&_osacat=0).  If you buy on Ebay – only buy from sellers with very high feedback scores & maybe be sure they are located in the US.  Also – be sure to add their shipping charges to the total cost before you click BUY.