Monday, October 10, 2011

Spinach Fettuccine with Parmesan-Lemon Cream Sauce

For today's Meatless Monday, I went back to fresh pasta from Kelsey Nixon. I had watched her fresh pasta episode and already made her Italian Sausage Cannelloni which we thoroughly enjoyed and I had her other recipe on the show in the back of my mind. I made the spinach fettuccine by blanching some fresh spinach leaves for a few minutes, chilling it quickly in ice water and pureeing it in a food processor. I then drained the pureed spinach and used a little of the drained puree in the pasta dough to get the lovely green color.

The sauce started with a simple mixture of sauteed onion, yellow squash, and lemon zest. The pan got a splash of white wine and was allowed to cook down before chicken broth, heavy cream and fresh lemon juice went in along with a little of the pasta water.

The sauce was made while the fresh pasta was cooking in boiling water (fresh pasta only takes 3-5 minutes). Once the sauce was thickened, some grated Parmesan was stirred in along with salt and pepper. Finally the pasta was tossed with the sauce and served. The plates were garnished with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese. I also served slices of homemade French Bread from a loaf I had stashed in the freezer last time I made some.

This was a spectacular Meatless Monday feature; rich enough to be entirely satisfying.

Adapted from Kelsey's Essentials

Fettuccine with Yellow Squash and Parmesan-Lemon Cream Sauce (Serves 4-6)

1 recipe fresh pasta dough with spinach puree, cut into fettuccine, recipe follows, or 8 ounces dried fettuccine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus Parmesan curls or more grated cheese, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh Pasta Dough
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons spinach puree (recipe follows)

For the Spinach puree:
Blanch 8 ounces (about 3 cups) spinach leaves. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Press the spinach puree through a small strainer or chinois, removing the liquid before mixing with the eggs. Add 3 tablespoons spinach puree to the eggs before mixing.

To make the fresh pasta dough:
Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center making a well in the middle of the flour the steep sides. Break the eggs into the well (add the spinach at this point). Add the salt and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.

With your hands or a bench scraper, continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour. If the dough feel too sticky, add additional flour until a soft silky dough is achieved.

Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.

Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the rollers of a pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.

If using a pasta machine: flatten 1 of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.

With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta though the machine's rollers a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into 1/3, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting. Cut the pasta using the fettuccine cutting attachment and place it on the flour dusted baking sheet, sprinkling the freshly cut pasta with a little more flour to make sure it doesn't stick together.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until just tender. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot.

To make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with salt, and pepper. Add the yellow squash and saute until almost tender. Add the lemon zest and continue cooking for 1 more minute.

Add the white wine, and scrape up the pan releasing any dry bits on the bottom. Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, lemon juice, and reserved cooking liquid. bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the sauce is creamy and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Season the sauce with salt, and pepper to taste.

Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

Gerry and I agree:

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