08 March 2011

Lidia Oh Lidia

"Oh no. OH no. Please don't squish me.
I do not want to be pasta today."

"Noooooooo! You can't make me do this!
I'm too young to go! It's not my time!
If you spare me just this once, I'll do your laundry for a year!"


No, I did not spare his life. Call me cruel, but I don’t see how a squished noodle without arms or legs could do my laundry. He put up a good fight, but in the end, his destiny was to be my dinner: lasagna with fresh spinach noodles and a Ragù alla Bolognese.
His was a noble cause. Who wouldn’t want to be flattened into a beautiful sheet of pasta, smothered with a four-hour meat sauce, sprinkled with mountains of various cheeses and baked in the oven until bubbly and crispy? You would.

That pasta, it sure was pretty. Smooth and silky, cool to the touch. A lovely pale green, flecked with tiny grains of spinach. And the smell...mmmmmm.....earthy and floury, with hints of egg and olive oil. I wanted to rub it all over my face. But I didn’t. Yes I did. No I didn’t.

After I got over the fact that I had made fresh spinach pasta with my own bare hands, and had called almost every single person I know to tell them the good news, I got to work making Lidia Bastianich's Pasticciata Bolognese, filling a baking dish with layers of pasta, Lidia’s Ragù, a besciamella (white cream sauce), and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
My oh my oh my oh my oh my oh my oh my.
I'm thinking that maybe you should be nicer to me next time you see me so that I might someday invite you over to my house to eat this. Also, I wish that Lidia Bastianich was my third grandmother.

So yeah, I made a fancy lasagna, basically. A heaven-sent fancy lasagna that was a LOT of work but a lot of fun and a LOT of tasty. But you could do anything with this spinach pasta. I'm thinking next time, if I don't have the time to make the accompanying four-hour meat sauce that accompanies this recipe, I'll just cut the pasta into noodles and serve it with sun-dried tomatoes, crispily browned garlic slices, and maybe feta cheese. Won't that be purty?
Any other suggestions?
Besides clothing your baby in it?

Spinach Pasta Dough
~ adapted from Lidia’s Family Table by Lidia Maticchio Bastianich

One 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
2 large whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Squeeze the spinach by handfuls to press out as much liquid as possible. When you think you’ve squeezed it enough, squeeze it again, by handfuls, using all your might. The drier the spinach, the better the pasta.

Crumble the spinach into the food processor bowl and purée it thoroughly, scraping it off the sides. With the spinach and the blade in place, add the flour and pulse to blend with the spinach, scraping as necessary.

Whisk together the whole eggs, yolks and oil in a bowl. With the food processor running, pour in the liquid ingredients on top of the green flour. Process for about 30 seconds, scrape down the work bowl, and scrape in all the egg residue too. Process another 20 to 30 seconds, until the dough has started to come together and a a ball on the blade.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, until it’s smooth. Wrap well in plastic wrap, and let rest at 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Store for 2 days in the refrigerator, or for 3 months in the freezer.

Remove googly eyes before cooking.

Makes enough for one delicious pan of Lidia Bastianich’s Pasticciata Bolognese


Abilew-who said...

No joke. This is one of my top five favorite foods of all time. My birthday is coming up. In October. Whateves.

Missie said...

i will eat that baby with the pasta, puhleaze!??

Alison said...

Wowzers. I love everything about this post, but if I had to pick just one thing, it would be the googley eyes you put on the dough dude. And the baby wearing the pasta. And the line about 3 grandmas. Oh shoot, I can't pick on thing.

foodies at home said...

Oh my gosh...cutest post I have seen yet! LOL...Lucky baby to be clothed in such yummy pasta ;)

Anonymous said...

This may have made my day. Very cute. And the baby is just precious. Who knew pasta made such a great scarf. Lol :P I have been dabbling in fresh pasta for a while but have not gone farther than whole-wheat and regular flour-pasta. I have been planning to try vegetable puree variations such as spinach and tomato and making myself some tortellini. Thanks for the inspiration. :o

bunnyeatsdesign said...

Do you keep googly eyes on hand for all occasions? Because you should! Love the post.

Erica Julson said...

ahahaha this is awesome. I love all the photos.

theopinionatedbaker said...

Your photo is too cute! (And it looks awesome next to your sexy artisan kitchenaid)

Erielle said...

Ha Ha Abbey. We'll do it. But you and me are going to be the only ones at the party so we can eat the whole pan ourselves and not share it.

Mis, I'll clean him off so you can eat him cuz he real dirty right now.

Alison, Thanks! Googley eyes are the best. Can't go wrong. They practically wrote the post for me.

FAH, thanks!

Anon, wow, homemade tortellini. Can I come over?

Bunny, actually, yes. I do have a big bag of googly eyes now. When I need a laugh, I just stick them something. Automatic good times.

Erica, thanks!

Opiniated Baker, it is so sexy. It is the one appliance that I actually wipe down every time after I use it. Like a thoroughbred. I love it so.

baobabs said...

soooooo cute!!! the baby AND the pasta with stick on eyes! :D

blogbytina.com said...

If my mom ever dies in a horrific harpooning accident, I want you to adopt me

philaction said...

What a very entertaining way to blog on an oftentimes very boring topic. People, especially those who frequent blogs expect 'run-of-the-mill' I've seen that before recipes with a little 'teeny-weeny' bit of herb added for flavor or color.
Your approach is refreshing, brilliant and funny.
I received a Kitchenaid pasta roller as a birthday gift but now I am wondering if I will ever have the heart to squish that 'pasta fellow'.

Christin said...