So let’s continue our pasta adventure… After basking in the glory of my Buckwheat Fetticcine success, I turned my attention to the remaining Buckwheat pasta dough. After Daz and the grunkies had hoovered the fettuccine, I thought I’d give the ol’ pasta machine another go. But the kids weren’t too keen to help, and anyway I figured that pasta is pasta, no matter the shape or size.
So I rolled it out with a little buckwheat flour between couple of bits of plastic wrap and cut out some rounds. In my mind, I figured that I’d be able to do something with these – tortollini or…I dunno. My pasta vocabulary is pretty limited, and in my usual fashion, I was happy to wing it.
I knew I wanted to make a filled pasta; so I thought health and taste combos. Leeks are in season and give a lovely mild oniony flavour. On a nutritional level leeks are great for their flavonoid and organosulpur components which help to fight off winter colds, as well as protect against stresses which can contribute to cancers and cardiovascular diseases! Walnuts will give a lovely crunch and richness, plus they are just the bees’ knees of the nut world! As well as looking like little brains – consumption of walnuts can assist in memory and cognitive functioning! Go Walnuts!! Olives add another taste dimension plus a briney-ness. They also contain hydroxytyrosol which scientists think can help in preventing cancer, as well as assisting in the depositing of calcium into your bones! And where do we get the calcium – from the creamy fetta, of course! So for this ol’ bird – things that improve memory, fight cancers and lurgies, as well as helping my bones get the calcium then need to stay strong, are winners! Plus, I reckon they’ll all complement that buckwheat so well!
I send the kids out the front to get me a herb from the garden, and they come back with a sprig of thyme – so giddy up! I chop it all up finely, saute the leeks with a little EVOO, and then add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. In went the chopped olives and walnuts and they all get a firm mix. Once the moisture is absorbed, I turned off the heat add the fetta and thyme and the filling is good to go.
So, I pull the rounds out of the fridge. I’d covered them well to stop drying out, but they were a little dry (of course). Anyway, I lay them all out on a floured clean tea towel and then lightly mist the tops with water. Into each round I put a teaspoon of the filling. It’s really tempting to stack the filling up – but this will come back to bite you in the cooking stage – so resist temptation and go easy, Sister (or Brother!)!
I coat the edges in a little egg wash and fold the pasta over the filling and squeeze ‘em tight. “Night, night little pasta parcel filling, full of health and burstin’ with taste! Just don’t all spill out during the cooking bit – please, pretty please.” I give ‘em just another little squeeze shut to make sure.
Now I did have a go at making tortellinis. But they split a bit. And, I realised that I should have made the rounds square, and fresh pasta probably would have worked a treat, not second-day-spent-the-night-in-the-fridge pasta. No worries – just gives me an excuse to try this one again! It’s all good peeps! All good!
So, while I’m making my little parcels, I’ve got the salted water on the stove and it’s up to a rolling boil. Yep, the teeny-tiny closet kitchen resembles a sauna, and Daz wanders in with a grumbling mutter and opens the window. “Hey! Creative at work here! You simply CANNOT expect me to be bothered with minor details like a steamy kitchen!”
Anyway, I chugga-lug some EVOO into the water and drop a third of my babies into the steamy deep. I don’t toss ’em all in at once, as I don’t want to lose my boil by creating a temperature imbalance with the addition of my pasta. With nervous anticipation I peer into the steam and see that the little moonie parcels are holding tight. No splitters here! Yippee!!! 🙂
While they’re doing a little dance in the boiling water, I toss the rest of the walnutty-olivey-leekie-cheesey filling into my pasta sauce, and turn my attention to cooking these beauties. Again, I don’t time the cooking, but I reckon about three minutes, maybe a bit more. And again, I get little Miss Pasta Expert to do the al dente test for me. If they feel soft and good to eat – then they probably are good to go. So I pull ‘em out into a stainer and pop another lot into the pot.
I’ve added the pasta recipe below again – in case you missed it from the last blog. I’d love to learn about your Buckwheat pasta adventures and the filling you make to complement this star performer of the gluten free grain crew.
I’ve also made a brief video of the whole pasta adventure in case you’re looking at my bloggy dribble and going, “I cannot, cannot read ALL that just to get to the punchline!” So here tis!!
Birdseed Buckwheat Pasta
2½ cups FRESHLY ground buckwheat flour (trust me – freshly ground is the ONLY way to go)
½ cup glutinous rice flour (I use Erawan’s Brand – you can buy it at Woolies or Coles. It’s the one with the green writing
PLUS: ½ to ¾ cup of the buckwheat/glutinous flour blend for flouring the dough
½ tsp salt
4 – 5 eggs (depending on the size of your eggs)
Big pot of salted boiling water with a good dollop of olive oil
Mix the buckwheat flour, glutinous rice flour and salt together. Make a well in the middle of flours and add the eggs. Pulling the flour into the eggs, work it together until it forms a smooth and not too sticky dough. If it’s a bit sticky, sprinkle with a little flour. If it’s a bit dry, you might need to add a little more egg. Give it a lovely knead and shape into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set aside while you set up the pasta machine. Now you DON’T have to use a pasta machine, and in some ways it’s easier if you don’t. Rolling out the pasta on a plastic pastry sheet or plastic wrap. This is where you need to take charge. There are probably a gazillion different ways to cut, shape, roll pasta. The choice is yours. You will need flour to stop the cut pasta from sticking together.
Make sure your water is at a rolling boil before you drop the pasta in. Usually fresh pasta doesn’t take very long to reach al dente – a few minutes at most. But if your pasta is quite thick or you’ve folded the pasta to join seams – it might take a little longer. Taste testing is the best way to determine doneness.
Top with your favourite sauce and Buon Appetito!