Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spinach Fettuccine Primavera

After all these years of creating meals, I still get excited that I can poke my head into the pantry and freezer and create a meal without needing to head to the grocery store.  I love pulling things out and putting a meal together in my head.  I only wish I could have done that when my children were young.  Back then, it seemed to be mostly processed food along with set menu items that we ate every week.  Sometimes, I wish we could turn the clock back and that would be one of the changes I would make - to provide healthier meals to my children.  But, it is what it is, as they say and one should not focus on the past.  (thank you Eckert) 

Yesterday, being Monday had my head poking in the freezer once again trying to determine our evening meatless meal.  As good as I've been not buying food just because it's on sale, my freezer is still full.  Now, it's because I try not to waste anything and freeze items for later use.  Yesterday, I found homemade broth, turkey soup, whole habanero's (not sure why, since they were SO HOT) end pieces of parmesan and romano cheese to be used in soup, sauces, herbs and so on. 

I decided to make pasta with veggies and removed the spinach, broccoli, peas and vegetable broth.  I also wanted to make the pasta healthier, so I added whole wheat flour to the mixture.  Only a third of the required amount since Jim is definitely not a fan.  My goal was to add it without Jim noticing the difference.

Out came my  KitchenAid KSM150PSWH Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer, White along with my KitchenAid KPRA Pasta Roller Attachment for Stand Mixers.  Even though I make my pasta in the mixer and not by hand, I find running the dough through the pasta roller very, very relaxing.  Yesterday, out came Dean Martin on the IPod and I went to work or should I say play since this is never work to me...

When making your pasta in the Kitchen Aid, everything just goes into the bowl.  Making pasta is using only eggs, flour,salt and water.  Can it be easier than that?  I do make sure my eggs are room temperature and if it's too dry I either add a little more water or an egg yolk.  I found you do need to experiment and find the texture right for you.  In this case, I defrosted a box of frozen spinach and once cooled, wrung out in a dish towel to remove the excess water and put everything together.  I mix for only about 30 seconds and then change to the hook attachment for an additional 2 minutes.  The most labor part is that you then kneed the dough for at least two minutes.  Once you have a nice looking ball, wrap in plastic and let it rest for about an hour. 

When ready, I break it into about 5/6 pieces, somewhat flatten and put some flour on the counter.  You need to run the dough through a few times in the flat attachment to create the sheets, using a little flour to ensure it doesn't break up in the process.

Once they are finished, you then change the attachment to make the type of pasta you want for the night. I am fortunate to have both pasta attachment packages and can make many different types but today it was fettuccine.

I moved onto the sauce and heated olive oil and butter in a large pan.  I added onions, minced garlic, mushrooms, dried basil along with salt and pepper and sauteed for approximately 7 minutes.  Then went flour into the pan and mixed it well.  I added vegetable broth slowly constantly stirring to mix, brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer to thicken.  I then added the broccoli and peas, heavy cream and grated parmesan.  Please remember to always taste along the way to ensure you have the right flavor for the dish.

While I was making the sauce, I boiled water, added salt and tossed in the beautiful looking pasta into the pot for only 4 minutes.

All that was left was to marry the pasta and sauce together, add cheese and serve! 

For a Monday, I was able to create a Meatless Meal without heading to the grocery store that was delicious and healthy.  As we sat down and began eating, I could see on Jim's face that he figured out something was different.  In the end, the spinach did not totally hide the whole wheat.  I continue to be amazed that for someone who eats his fair amount of junk food can taste the difference when I change something up.  The good news is that he ate the entire bowl and said he would eat it again.  YES!

Have a great week everyone and remember, a good life deserves good food...

Fino a quel momento (until that time)


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