Disclosure: KitchenAid gave me 2 stand mixer attachments to try out and I loved them so much that I decided to write a post about them. I was not given any einkorn products to review. All opinions are my own.
When you’re looking for comfort food, sometimes a good plate of pasta is the only thing that will suffice. But I have to admit, sitting down with a bowl of the perfect comfort food has been tricky for me for the last while. For one, I stopped eating gluten (for the most part) awhile back, so eating pasta has meant having a decent brown rice pasta on hand (which has at least become a lot easier to come by in the past several years). But homemade pasta has been another beast entirely. Alongside the challenges of finding a good recipe for gluten-free (and still decently healthy) pasta, the old school techniques of rolling out noodles by hand, or flinging them through the air in Chinese hand-pulled style, have yielded very little for me in the way of positive results. (Nobody likes ravioli that is a quarter of a inch thick, let alone spaghetti noodles that spent more time on the kitchen floor than whirling in the air.) Ok, to be fair, I haven’t even attempted to make hand-pulled noodles since I’ve stopped eating gluten. It is, in fact, the gluten that I think allows the noodles to be stretched out in that way. But, to toot my own horn, I did (try to) make them a few years ago, and not only were the noodles delicious, making them was incredibly fun. I recommend that everybody try it at some point in their life. But I digress.
Fortunately for me (and everyone I cook for), two brilliant additions to my kitchen drastically changed things for the better. The first is a fabulous form of wheat flour called einkorn. For the record, einkorn is no miracle for folks who have Celiac’s: wheat is wheat. But for those of us who seem sensitive but not allergic, einkorn may be just the thing to try. One of the original strains of wheat from thousands of years ago (as in, before hybridization and genetic modification), einkorn may affect the body differently—and sometimes much more positively—from the wheat that’s commonly sold today. So imagine: the elastic benefits of gluten without all of the drawbacks of mainstream wheat.
I learned about einkorn and emmer in a Theory of Artisan Break Baking class I took last summer, but since I couldn’t find either of them in the city, I gave up my search entirely. Over the past year, Tim and Shanna started using it a lot on their blog and it was their love of the grain that got me to consider trying to get it again. I bought mine in the US, but I have good news for all of you: I have since found that you can get it in Canada (here and here). Way to go, Canadian farmers! So now I had a flour that I felt good about making pasta with. But what about the method, you ask?
Well, as the second new addition to my kitchen, that’s where my Kitchen Aid pasta attachments came in. I can’t tell you how excited I was to attend the KitchenAid event. First off, Chef Lynn Crawford was going to be there and I just might have the biggest chef crush on her. (In case you didn’t know it, she’s kind of a culinary wizard.) And, of course, I was going to learn about what KitchenAid had to offer in terms of the attachment realm. As much as l love my stand mixer, I knew that I’d only scratched the surface of what it was capable of doing. While I was there, we made ice-cream, slushy drinks, and juice. We shredded vegetables for salads, ground meat for stuffing into sausages, and of course, we made pasta. It was all magnificent. But since I find the idea of bread and pasta making to be incredibly romantic, I mostly hovered around the pasta table watching Lynn work her magic. In the time we were there, she made several styles of pasta (shapes, sizes, colours, flavours) and while watching her, it became clear to me why I coveted my friend’s pasta attachment, and why I tried to trick my mom into giving me hers. They really are amazing! You can have fresh pasta in mere minutes, people. So you could surely imagine my joy and pleasure when it was announced that KitchenAid was going to let us walk out of the event with our very own choice of attachments for our stand mixers! I don’t have to tell you which one I chose. I left there with both a pasta extruder, which makes spaghetti, bucatini, rigatoni, fusilli and small or large macaroni, AND a pasta roller, which makes lasagna, fettuccine, and linguine. I’m set for life. Now onto perfecting the gluten-free pasta recipe.
So there I stood in my kitchen, armed with the essentials for good pasta: outstanding ingredients and outstanding tools to do the job. And outstanding they were. First, I made fettuccini. It rocked. Then I made ravioli and mezzaluna (half moon shaped ravioli) stuffed with a perfectly balanced blend of spinach, ricotta, and almonds which, as I’m sure you can imagine, rocked even more. I wish I could show you how easy it was to make homemade einkorn ravioli with the attachment. But at least I can show you the outcome. It was delicious.
The flecks you see are chia seeds. I added these nutritional powerhouses to the pasta dough base to amp up the vibes in this meal and it didn’t affect the making of the noodles in the slightest. Not to mention, I think it adds a little pizzazz to the presentation of these little pockets, which when stuffed with ricotta, greens, lemon, and almonds, make an unforgettable dish. The bursted tomatoes are sweet and slightly acidic, and when paired with a good quality olive oil, they really balance out the dish. If you don’t (yet) have einkorn flour, I’d recommend trying this dish with spelt or traditional organic wheat, but the amount of flour needed will likely vary. It’s ok, just play around with it (see my notes below) until you get the consistency you want. Above all, enjoy this comfort and true ease of this dish.
- 2 cups einkorn flour (or organic wheat or spelt *Amounts will vary, but see my notes below)
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- RAVIOLI MIXTURE
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 cups baby spinach leaves (or baby kale)
- 2 cloves garlic, very sliced thinly
- 3 cups light ricotta cheese
- 2 tsp capers, finely chopped
- ½ of a meyer lemon, juiced
- ⅓ cup toasted, sliced almonds
- Generous pinch each of salt and pepper
- BURST TOMATOES
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pint sweet, baby cherry tomatoes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, to drizzle (optional)
- Parmesan to shave on top (optional)
- In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the eggs, egg yolk, and olive oil, and process again for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the dough comes together in a rough ball.
- If the dough is dry, add a little bit of water, a few drops at a time. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Repeat until the dough comes together in a more smooth ball. If you're using a flour other than einkorn, you will need to adjust play around with adding either more water or more flour until you get the consistency you're looking for.
- Sprinkle some flour on the counter.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and place it on the floured surface. Knead it a few more times until it the ball is entirely smooth and not too sticky or dry.
- Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- RAVIOLI MIXTURE
- While the pasta is resting, heat a pan over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the spinach and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and the garlic is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
- Place the ricotta in a medium bowl. Add to it the cooled spinach, capers, meyer lemon juice, and almonds. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, as necessary.
- *Note: This mixture should make more than enough filling. If you have extra filling, but not enough ravioli shells, use the filling in an omlette or as a sandwhich spread with grilled vegetables.
- TO MAKE THE RAVIOLI
- Divide the rested dough in to quarters. Follow the instructions of your pasta maker to thin and roll out our your dough. Once it's rolled out, cut out circles approximate 2.5 inches in diameter. Place approximately 1-2 tsp of mixture in the centre of the circle.
- Wet the perimeter of the dough with water and top with another circle of dough. Or if you want mezzaluna, use less filling and fold the circles in half. Use a fork to seal it. Continue until all the ravioli is made.
- *Note: If you have extra dough, but not enough filling, make fettucini noodles with the remaining dough.
- TO COOK THE RAVIOLI
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season it liberally with salt.
- Place some ravioli in the water, but do not overcrowd the pot. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the ravioli start floating AND the dough is cooked al dente. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm as you continue to cook the remaining ravioli.
- BURST TOMATOES
- While the pasta water is heating up heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Cook the tomatoes until they just start to burst, approximately 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top each plate of pasta with a couple of spoonfuls of tomatoes. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved parmesan cheese.