Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rustic Spinach Pasta + Sauce

If you didn’t make it to Tuscany this summer, here is the next best thing. Jenn Louis in Pasta by Hand, A Collection of Italy’s Hand Shaped Pasta, includes this recipe for "Rustic Malfutti” (spinach dumplings) in her excellent new book.

To accompany the pasta, Louis' recipe for "Tomato Sauce” combines techniques from all over Italy. She adds butter to mitigate the acidity of the tomatoes, and the result is a creamy sauce that pairs well with many pastas.

Named as one of Food & Wine’s "Best Upcoming Chefs" in 2012, Louis’ book contains easy-to-follow recipes and beautiful photographs for everything from pasta and sauces, to stocks and ragu. It’s worth checking out.

Tomato Sauce

Image from Amazon Website

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh oregano, or other dried Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

Kosher salt to taste


1. Heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Cook the garlic, onion, herbs and pepper flakes until the onion is translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and butter and simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Salt to taste.

4. Process the sauce in a food mill, or press through a mesh strainer. Discard the solids.

Spinach Dumplings
Pasta always tastes better with a friend!


2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed
4 eggs
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

1 cup (+/-) gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup 


1. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath for the spinach.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add the spinach to fill the pot and blanch it for about 2 minutes. Remove spinach with tongs to ice bath. Repeat with any remaining spinach.

3. Drain the cooled spinach in a colander. Squeeze out excess water with hands, and then with towels. 

3. In a food processor, mix the spinach and eggs until smooth. Taste for salt.

4. Scrape the spinach into a bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in just enough flour until the mixture is thickened to resemble thick pancake batter. Mixture can be covered with plastic wrap and stored for up to one day. Note: this pasta cannot be frozen.

5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make a dumpling by scooping up the spinach mixture on one soup spoon, and then slightly rounding it off in another spoon. Drop the dumpling into the boiling water; repeat with all the spinach mixture until the pan is filled. When the dumplings rise to the top and appear done, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and pat dry. 

6. Reheat the tomato sauce in a large frying pan. Add the cooked dumplings to the sauce and let the flavors blend together for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes about 4 servings.

#paleo ##glutenfree #healthyfood #vegetarian #pasta #Italian

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