I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes that are low in calories. I found Spinach Fettuccine with Cauliflower & Broccoli in Green’s Cookbook, and it filled the bill. Of course, I had to tweak it a bit, as you probably will, too.
I’m a bit of a compulsive DIY-er, so I make my own pasta. (I’ve included my recipe for spinach fettuccine at the end, for you brave souls.) You can shave off some time by purchasing the fettuccine. By the way, you don’t have to use fettuccine – choose a different pasta if your prefer (or don’t have any in the house).
FETTUCCINE WITH CAULIFLOWER & BROCCOLI – makes 2 large servings
- 4 T butter
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 1 T sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
- 1 T salt
- 3 cups total broccoli and cauliflower, chopped in bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 pound fettuccine (or any pasta you prefer) Recipe for Spinach Fettuccine follows at end.
- 1 tsp lemon zest
Melt butter in 3 or 4 quart saucepan. Add shallots and sauté for 3 minutes over medium flame. Add in garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, mustard, and dried tomatoes. In a Dutch oven, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 T salt to a boil. Remove 1/2 cup of this water and stir into shallot mixture. To the pot of boiling water add the broccoli and cauliflower. When the water resumes boiling, cook veggies 1 minute only, just to blanch them, then scoop them out and add to the shallot mixture (which is still off-heat). Add the pasta and lemon zest to the boiling water, cooking until the pasta is done. Save a cup of the pasta water in case you need it, then drain pasta. Into the empty Dutch oven combine the shallot mixture and pasta. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Add saved pasta water if you feel it needs to be looser.
SPINACH FETTUCCINE – makes 2 servings
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup + extra all-purpose flour
Note: For this recipe you’ll need a food processor and a pasta machine (I use the Atlas hand cranked brand)
Remove and discard stem ends from spinach leaves. Chop leaves with knife, then place in food processor and pulse until leaves are very finely chopped. Add egg and oil, and pulse a few times to blend. Pasta making is all about having the right ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. The spinach, egg, and oil are the wet, and the flour is the dry. You’ll have to go by feel since the water in the spinach and the size of the egg are variable. Don’t worry, there’s wiggle room!
Add in 1 cup of flour and run machine about 10 seconds, until mixture is blended. It will probably be too dry. Try to form a ball with some of the mixture. If it crumbles, you’ll need to add some water, 1 tsp at a time. If it feels like Playdough (i.e., it holds together and feels kind of tacky), it’s done. If it forms a ball but sticks to your fingers, it’s too wet – add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. When dough reaches the proper consistency, form 2 balls and place them back in food processor with lid to rest for about 1/2 hour or so. Attach pasta machine to a table or countertop with plenty of room to lay out dough. You’ll also need something to hang the dry pasta over, such as a dowel. Pour about 1/4 cup of flour on the work surface. Work as quickly as you can so the dough doesn’t dry out.
Take one dough ball and smash it into the flour. Flip dough and smash other side into the flour. Brush off extra flour the run dough through machine at the lowest number setting (this will be either ‘0’ or ‘1’). Fold dough like an envelope and run it through again. Lay dough flat and rub a little flour over both sides of dough. Fold in half and run it through machine at same setting. Repeat this last step 3 more times. You will have run the dough 6 times through the machine on the lowest setting. Repeat with second dough ball.
TIP: Each time you run the dough through the machine, say the number you’re on aloud so you don’t forget what number you’re on. It’s better to do too many than not enough – by the 6th run-through you’ll see a big difference in the dough consistency.
Turn the machine number up 1 digit and run each dough strip (without folding it) through 1 time only. Rub the dough (like before) with a little flour. Increase the number, run the strips through (again, without folding). You’ll notice the strips get longer with each number increase. It’s a personal preference as to how thin you want your pasta – I like to stop after number 5.
When you’re making your final pass with a strip, cut it to the length you want your pasta – I usually cut it in thirds. Run these pieces through the cutter before doing the other strip, so the cut edges don’t dry out.
Hang cut dough until ready to boil.