Beetroot Pappardelle with Ricotta and Spinach – This is a “from scratch” recipe that also happens to be oil free, sugar free and vegetarian! This will work with shop bought pasta, of course, but the pasta is the hero of this dish – Spend a bit of time doing it properly.
This is one of those dishes that is truly spectacularly delicious, that you just close your eyes and get transported into gastronomic pleasure. We live for those moments of bliss, those memorable meals, and hopefully this will hit the spot for you too.
Homemade fresh pasta is truly one of life’s greats, one of those timelessly simple foods that are so, so much better when made by hand. Pappardelle means “to gobble up” in Italian (Or so I was told!) – and this is exactly what happens with this dish!
Bear in mind – Making pasta from scratch takes a bit of effort, so do this on a weekend when you have lots of time and want to make something special. This was done without a pasta machine (all you need is a rolling pin), but if you do have one lying around it’ll save you some work.
Beetroot Pappardelle with Ricotta and Spinach
- rolling pin
- 2 cups white flour Self-raising also works
- 2 eggs
- 1 cooked beetroot
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped These are available from most asian grocery stores. If you can't get them, dried porcini mushrooms will also work well, or some good fresh 'shrooms.
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
- Salt and pepper
- Blitz up the beetroot in a blender with the eggs until perfectly smooth. Make a mound from the flour on a clean surface, pour the beetroot egg mixture into the middle with a tsp of salt, and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. It should be about the consistency of your earlobe, without sticking to your hands. Add more flour or water as needed until it's perfect. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes, but better if you can leave it for an hour or 2. This makes the dough more elastic, and is very important.
- Fry the onions, chilli flakes, tarragon and chopped shiitake mushrooms in a large frying pan with a splash of water until soft, then add the garlic and peas (you can chuck them straight into the pan from the freezer) and cook another 2 minutes or so, until the peas are looking bright green and just cooked. Add the spinach and wilt for 30 seconds , the add the yoghurt, ricotta, turn off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil. Break off an egg-sized chunk of pasta dough and roll out on a floured surface until as thin as you can get it – should make a sheet of pasta dough about 40x20cm. Ensure the outside of your sheet is floured, then fold lengthwise back and forth to make a stack and slice with a clean, floured knife into 1,5-2cm wide slices. After slicing, pick up each slice and shake out, otherwise the pasta will stick together. Put in a pile, sprinkle with more flour and toss around a bit.
- If you have 2 people working, while you get on with rolling the next piece your assistant can put the first pile of pasta that you've just made into the rapidly boiling water, stirring constantly to ensure no pasta sticks together. Cook for approx. 90 seconds, or until the pasta is al-dente when you bite a piece. Remove and add to the pan with the spinach sauce, and stir around to coat the pasta in the sauce. Repeat as many times as you need, until you're happy with the amount of pasta you're making.
- Once all your pasta is cooked, add half a cup or so of the pasta cooking water to the pan, turn on the heat to medium and stir around to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta beautifully – the sauce should go a wonderful light creamy consistency and dress the pasta effortlessly. Taste one last time, adjust salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately with some pecorino on the table. If you're feeling fancy, a drizzle of truffle oil also works well.