Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gluten-Free Spinach Pasta from The Allergy-Free Pantry

Who agrees that winter is the best time for pasta? It just might be the ultimate comfort food. If you are tired of the same brand of food-allergy-safe off-the-shelf pasta, try making your own. There is nothing quite like homemade pasta, and you can control the ingredients (including the flours used).

The best tool I have found to make pasta is an attachment to my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. The KitchenAid KPEXTA Stand-Mixer Pasta-Extruder Attachmentis what I use. Keep in mind that homemade pasta boils much faster than dried pasta from the grocery store. It only needs a couple of minutes. Trust me on that!

Here's my favorite homemade pasta recipe from The Allergy-Free Pantry. Pair it with any of the sauces found in the book. I'm partial to Marinara Sauce with Spinach Pasta.

Spinach Pasta

Makes 4 servings

Spinach adds fiber and nutrients to plain pasta. Cook some extra spinach for dinner and save some to make pasta the next day. Use about 2 cups (60 g) of fresh spinach to make ¼ cup (45 g) of spinach puree (see note below). Serve it with Marinara Sauce for a colorful meal.

¼ cup (45 g) cooked spinach, drained
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 to 4 tablespoons warm water, plus more for boiling
96 grams (about ¾ cup) brown rice flour
60 grams (about ½ cup) millet flour
32 grams (about ¼ cup) tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1¼ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons light olive oil

1. Puree the cooked spinach, flaxseed meal, and 2 tablespoons of the warm water in a food processor. Let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes. The mixture will be smooth and creamy.

2. Combine the flours, starch, xanthan gum, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and mix them together well.

3. Combine the spinach mixture and oil in a large bowl.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir them together until crumbly. Test to see if the dough holds together by forming a small ball. Add up to 2 tablespoons of water as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is stiff, yet smooth. The amount of water you need to add will vary based on how much moisture remains in the spinach.

5. Form tightly packed balls from the dough.

6. Use a pasta machine or extruder, following the directions for your tool, to form pasta in the desired shape, or form the pasta by hand.

7. Fill a pasta pot with water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a rolling boil before adding the pasta.

8. Cook the pasta for 1 to 3 minutes. Drain, add sauce, and serve.

To cook the spinach

Steam 2 cups (60 g) of fresh spinach leaves with 2 tablespoons of water in a medium saucepan over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are tender. If using frozen spinach, prepare according to package directions.

Recipe from The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts, copyright © Colette Martin, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

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