My mum has always made fresh pasta using eggs, flour and water; it’s all I’ve ever known, so you can appreciate the range of emotions my poor brain was trying to process when I happened to see Jamie Oliver making pasta with only 2 ingredients – flour and spinach!
Where were the eggs, Jamie Oliver?
The episode and the pasta recipe drew me in; I was reluctant to believe that good quality pasta could be made without eggs. I was surprised, intrigued and impressed at what Jamie had created.
But this is television after all and we all know that what you see on TV should always be taken with a grain of salt (pardon the pun).
Although I wouldn’t be able to taste test Jamie Oliver’s version, I set about making his spinach pasta sans egg – I still had my doubts but at least the process was as easy as Jamie had demonstrated. All I needed to make this classic Italian pasta was spinach, a little water, flour and my hands to make the pasta into small rustic slivers that looked like worms. I replicated Jamie’s tomato, zucchini and pine nut sauce to accompany the Spinach Pici and the verdict …
You can make delicious tasting pasta without eggs!
Ingredients 300 g baby spinach
2 cups brown rice flour
8 cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon pine nuts
Handful of fresh basil leaves, thyme, oregano
Fresh herbs or Parmesan cheese to garnish
In a food processor, add the baby spinach, water and one cup of flour and puree.
Transfer the pureed spinach into a mixing bowl and slowly add the remainder of flour, folding the flour into the puree to form a firm dough.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead for a couple of minutes. The dough should not be sticky, only if required add a little extra flour.
Pinch a small piece of the dough and using the palms of your hands roll into long thin worm shaped pasta. Use all the dough (even if it’s more than the quantity you will be cooking) as you can freeze the pasta for future meals.
Process spinach, water and flour to create a pasta dough then roll small pieces of dough into rustic worm shaped slivers of pasta.
Bring a large pan of salted water with a drizzle of olive oil to the boil.
Add the pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
While pasta is cooking, chop the zucchini and halve the cherry tomatoes.
Add a little extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and when the oil is smouldering add fresh herbs such as basil, thyme and oregano. I like a touch of heat with my pasta sauces so I added some diced chilli with the herbs.
Sauté the herbs for a couple of minutes then add the zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the pine nuts and a few tablespoons of the water the pasta is cooking in.
Saute chopped zucchini and cherry tomatoes to make a healthy tomato based sauce that pairs perfectly with this rustic pasta.
Drain the pasta and transfer onto a flat serving plate, add the vegetable sauce and toss through the pasta.
Serve immediately, garnished with some fresh herbs or grated Parmesan cheese.