If you have had it before you will know that there is nothing like fresh homemade pasta. It pales in comparison to the dried stuff that most of us are so used to purchasing. Don’t get me wrong, I buy the dried stuff… a lot. But on occasion, I like to make fresh pasta as a special treat. My husband and kids love it, especially this Homemade Spinach Fettuccine.
When my husband was growing up, he would request Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach Noodles every year for his birthday dinner. It was, and still is his favorite. While I have made it for him before, I thought it was time to try the homemade noodles.
Although making homemade pasta seems daunting, it’s actually pretty easy. Basic pasta really only has two ingredients, eggs and flour. From there you can then add in different flavors, such as spinach. There are a couple of ways you can prepare the spinach for this pasta. The first option is to use frozen spinach that you would thaw. You can also use fresh spinach that you cook yourself. Either way, you will need to make sure you drain out as much of the excess liquid as you can so the dough is not too sticky.
One thing that is important to remember is that when putting this dough together, don’t over mix the dough. Pasta is not like bread, you don’t want the gluten to develop so the dough will rise, it’s quite the opposite. When you get to the next step of folding and rolling the dough out, that is actually part of the kneading process. If you work with it too much before that step, you will over develop the gluten.
If you have a pasta maker, this next part is very easy. I have both roller and cutter attachments that fit on my stand mixer. You can do it by hand, but fair warning, it takes a lot longer and is hard to get very thin. Make sure you repeat the “fold and roll” steps at least three or four times before you move on to thinning out the dough. This step helps incorporate the dough ingredients and completes the kneading process. I usually start with the widest setting and run the dough through twice. Then, I will fold the dough in half twice to make a nice little square and run it through again. I will repeat that step two or three more times and then move on to thinning out the dough.
I like to let the noodles sit to dry in little nests while I make my sauce. Once the sauce is done, the noodles can be dropped in boiling salted water to be cooked and then tossed right into the sauce. These are great with an alfredo sauce, a good marinara or simply with olive oil and parmesan cheese.
What’s your favorite pasta sauce??
Remember, if you make this recipe, make sure you share a photo with me, I’d love to see all of your creations! #SaporitoKitchen
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Homemade Spinach Fettuccine
- 3 ounces well drained cooked or frozen spinach, approx 8 ounces fresh
- 3 large whole eggs
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, extra for rolling
- In a food processor, add frozen or cooked spinach and pulse until spinach is just pureed.
- Add in eggs and flour and pulse until dough just comes together. You may need to add in more flour, depending on how much liquid is still in the spinach.
- Remove dough from the food processor and turn out onto a floured surface. Form dough into a rectangle and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Run dough through a pasta roller, on the widest setting, two times. Usually rollers start with 1 as the widest setting and go all the way up to 10 as the thinnest. As you are running the pasta through the roller, you may need to sprinkle the sheets with extra flour if they get sticky.
- Fold the pasta in half and then in half again to make a rectangle and run it through the roller on setting 1. Repeat this step two or three more times until dough is well incorporated and smooth. At this point, I recommend cutting the sheets into shorter pieces, it's easier to work with as the dough starts to thin out.
- Move the roller to the next setting (2) and run the pasta sheets through individually. Repeat with the next setting (3) and then the pasta should be ready to cut. Typically setting 3 or 4 is good for fettuccine noodles.
- If the sheets are not in shorter pieces, I recommend cutting them down now. Working with sheets that are around 10-12" long makes it much easier when you are running the dough through the cutter. Run the rolled out pasta sheets through the cutter and separate noodles if needed. Lay each set of cut noodles in nests on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and let rest while preparing for cooking.
- Fill a medium pot with 4 quarts of water and 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt. Place on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add in fresh noodles to the boiling salted water and cook for 2-4 minutes or until noodles float to the top and are cooked through.
- Remove noodles from pasta water and toss with your favorite sauce.