Did I get the all important catch phrases in there. No kidding, this is super simple and fun. Make it – on your own, with friends or even your favourite four year old – standing at the kitchen bench creating memories and spending time with people, its all about sharing simple seasonal food, nothing fancy and no need to be hoping for perfection.
The recipe for this Pici Pasta is based on Jamie Olivers recipe, from his book Jamie’s Super Food Family Classics. The pasta dough literally comes together in under two minutes in the food processor and is made with flour and fresh spinach – nothing else! The rolling does take a little time but it is not a practise of perfection just a spell of mindless hand rolling, chat to a friend, listen to a podcast, plan your next move, day dream……The pasta I made came out a little slimmer than size of green beans and actually looked like green beans when cooked, they weren’t perfectly formed and I think this is part of their charm. The original recipe calls for them to be rolled to the same thickness as green beans but I found this hard to cook through, so I have made them thinner.
You can make the dough and cook it straight away or put it aside for later or the next day. Paired with a pasta sauce consisting of vegetables from your fridge and pantry a dusting of parmesan basil and or pinenuts it couldn’t be more simple and delicious. Today I have paired it with some fresh asparagus, spinach, basil, garlic, ricotta, parmesan and lemon and because I love them a pinch of chilli flakes.
How beautiful is that dough – green goodness!
SIMPLE SPINACH PICI PASTA
Enough for four greedy people
- 100 grams dry baby spinach
- 150 grams of tipo OO flour or I used organic stoneground white flour ( I am sure you could use high grade flour)
- 2 bunches asparagus cut into bite size pieces
- Approx 100 grams spinach
- Handful of fresh basil finely shredded
- Approx 200 grams fresh ricotta
- 3 Tablespoons finely grated parmesan or peccorino cheese
- 1 lemon zested and cut in half to squeeze over finished pasta
- 2 cloves garlic cut into fine slivers
- Handful of pinenuts.
- Optional pinch of chilli flakes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper
Make your pasta by putting your 100 grams of spinach and 150 grams of flour in your food processor. I gave it a few pulses to begin and then let it run to bring the pasta dough together. It will take about a minute maybe two for this to happen. The dough should form a firm ball – not sticky – if it seems a bit wet you may need to add more flour but I have never needed to.
Take 1cm ‘ish’ pieces of dough from your ball and roll into lengths, these will be a little rustic and some longer and fatter than others – I aimed for consistency but not perfection! You want these to be slightly slimmer than green beans. You can cook these straight away or leave for a few hours or even over night. You can also roll any extra dough in cling film and hold for another meal if you feel it is more than you need.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
While waiting for the water to boil you can prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Place your ricotta cheese in a bowl and add – 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, grated parmesan cheese and shredded basil – mix together and check for seasoning you may want a little salt and pepper. Put aside to add to completed pasta.
Heat a large pan and very carefully toast your pinenuts and put aside. Pinenuts are way to expensive to burn!
Add a glug of Extra Virgin olive oil to the pan and very carefully, lightly brown your garlic slivers. Burnt Garlic will ruin your dish, but a little lightly toasted garlic sends it to the next level of delicious!
Once your water is boiling add your pasta and cook for six minutes – test for doneness – if they are a bit thicker or you made them earlier and they are dry they will take an extra three or four minutes.
When the pasta is just cooked add your asparagus to quickly blanch.
Turn your pan to a high heat and add your drained pasta and asparagus to the pan.
Working quickly add your spinach and most of your pinenuts and toss all together.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and gently fold through spoonfuls of ricotta mix.
Serve immediately trying not to disperse the ricotta too much.
Garnish with the last of the pinenuts and some basil.
You can have the other half of the lemon and salt and pepper at the table for people to add if they like.
This was so delicious, I really hope you will try it. and if it isn’t spring where you are try it with late season tomatoes and basil, or what about in winter with roast pumpkin and blue cheese instead of the ricotta – okay now that sounds good!
With all this talk of pasta I’m very excited to share news of my Good friend Kelly Jones (omg_realfood on instagram), who is working on some new and nutritious pasta recipes using ingredients such as turmeric, activated charcoal and beetroot . I cant wait to share as these come to fruition, but heres a hint in the pictures below.
Keep going Kelly, these look and taste amazing!