As you may know by now, I have a thing for pasta. But after two weeks of pasta-free cleansing, I couldn’t decide what kind I wanted first. And then I started to feel like maybe I shouldn’t be too decadent (with a loaded mac and cheese, for instance), since I just spent two weeks without white flours. So, I decided to compromise. It’s usually the right answer, and dinner was no exception. I made some spelt pappardelle (with leftover spelt flour– it’s a whole grain) and of course, I still don’t have a pasta machine so I rolled it by hand. At least my arms would get a workout while making it. I’ve made regular pasta dough this way, but I don’t do it often.
I went with the ingredients I had on hand, which included a leek, mushrooms, and some chevre. Mushrooms gave it a nice meatiness, particularly with the musty darkness of the dried porcini that reminds me of a forest. I threw in a little leftover chevre because I wanted an unctuous creaminess to the sauce without the fat content of cream. I must say, the combination went really well with the hearty spelt pasta.
Spelt Pappardelle with Leeks and Mushrooms
1 leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 handful dried porcini, soaked for 10 minutes in a 1/2 cup hot water
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
3 tablespoons chevre
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup AP flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch salt
Place the flours on a counter or board and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, olive oil, and salt to the well. Gently, using a fork, start the incorporate from the center of the well out. It will start to come together and you will need to start kneading with your hands. Once it has formed a ball and you have kneaded for a couple minutes, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour. Roll out on a floured board as thinly as you can and cut into pappardelle about 1/2 inch thick. Or, of course you can use a pasta machine. Make sure to dust in flour until you use it so it doesn’t stick together.
Saute the leek and garlic in a couple tablespoons olive oil until they have softened. Add the crimini mushrooms and rosemary and thyme. Once they have browned a bit, add the porcini and reserve the water. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add the porcini water (straining out any grit in the bottom).
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in heavily salted water until it starts to float. Add the chevre to the sauce and stir to melt. Add the pasta along with a little of the cooking water to the sauce. Stir through and serve with some parmesan or grana padano sprinkled on top. I had some leftover toasted breadcrumbs with herbs in the fridge so I threw some of that on top as well.