Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homemade Wholemeal Orecchiette

Homemade Wholemeal Orecchiette with Brocolli
Serves 4 (small)

This is adapted from the Kitchen Garden Companion recipe by Stephanie Alexander called Orecchiette and Brocolli on page 180.

For the Pasta:

50g (about ½ cup) chickpea flour
200g (1 cup) wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp salt
100g (½ cup) tofu ricotta
Almost half a cup of water

For the Brocolli:

500g brocolli, cut into even sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tsp capers
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
vegan margarine (I use Nuttelex Lite) optional
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast


First, make the pasta. If you can live without it, trim the thumb nail on whichever hand you use most real short.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, chickpea flour and salt. If you want you can sift it all (I'm too lazy to do this!), but make sure you add the bran back in afterwards otherwise it isn't really wholemeal any more!

Stir in the Tofu Ricotta until it starts to clump together in lumps of dough. Add water a little bit at a time (I started with ¼ cup) until dough comes together cohesively. I ended up using almost a ½ cup. This depends on how moist your 'ricotta' is.

Turn out onto a floured bench and knead for about 5 minutes. Wrap up in cling wrap or a plastic bag and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes.

After that (I ended up leaving mine for more like half an hour because I got distracted) take dough out of the plastic wrap (keep it!) and knead again on a floured surface until very smooth and supple. Break away a small lump (about the size of an egg) and re-wrap the remaining dough in plastic (so it doesn't dry out). Roll out the dough into a long snake shape, about 1cm thick. You should do this in a bit of flour so it doesn't stick to the knife too much in the next step.
Get a sharp knife and slice little bits of dough off the snake at about 3mm intervals. This is like making tiny gnocchi! Once you've done that, pick up a bit of dough and press with your (trimmed nail) thumb into the palm of your other hand and twist slightly. Put your first orecchiette on a baking tray lined with baking paper and continue repeating until all your dough has become little pasta shapes. (I'd have taken a photo of how to do this step, but I'm home alone and no one really wants to see my hands anyway! Maybe there is something on google.)

Now, either let your fresh pasta dry out, or freeze it until you need it for the meal. Or you can cook it straight away in boiling water. It shouldn't take too long fresh – about 5 minutes. Just keep tasting until it's ready for you :) They should float when done, like gnocchi does.

Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the pasta.

Then in a frying pan, start to fry your finely chopped garlic and thinly sliced red chilli in a fair amount of oil on med-low heat until the garlic is softened.
If the water is not yet boiling, take garlic and chilli off the heat until it is.

Once water is boiling, add your chopped brocolli pieces to the frying pan and return to the heat. Put your orecchiette into the boiling water and give it a stir. Don't forget about it! Mushy pasta isn't really fun. Especially since you just spent a fair bit of time making it!

Cook your brocolli on a higher heat until it turns bright green and starts to soften. Add in your 3 tsp of capers and let cook until the pasta is done.

Drain pasta and serve out equally into four bowls. (We had our two bowls then some containers for lunch the next day). Stir through the brocolli 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast and stir until it dissolves/goes soft. Divide evenly between bowls, top with a little blob of vegan margarine (if you want) and stir through pasta.
These seem to be really small serves so we had a bit of garlic toast with it. A salad would be better as the pasta is actually pretty filling!

I believe the tofu 'ricotta' really made a difference to the pasta. It resulted in a chewy texture and the herbs in it added a little bit of flavour. I was worried I'd put too much chickpea flour in because that's all I could smell when I was kneading it but it was perfect :) I'll definitely be making pasta like this again. The process didn't actually take that long, once I got the hang of twisting the little shapes. It probably took me an hour to make them all, not including kneading and sitting time. :)

1 comment:

Theresa said...

I didn't think you were rude at all! I hope the seeds work out for you (and, yummy looking pasta!). If you do a search for 'ceylon spinach' on my blog you can see the ways we tend to use it - it's very versatile!