Bring a little brightness and nutrition into your dinner plans with this delicious and savoury pasta dish.
2 cups (300 g) frozen spinach, thawed overnight or in the microwave
3 to 3 1/2 cups (390-455 g) ‘00’ or all-purpose flour
1 cup (150 g) frozen peas, thawed overnight or in the microwave
2 cups (500 ml) lightly packed basil
1/2 cup (125 ml) lightly packed parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup (34 g) pine nuts or pistachios
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup (40 g) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 o 1/2 (60-125 ml) cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Cherry tomatoes, optional
Fresh herbs, optional
Wring out spinach using a cheesecloth or a few pieces of paper towel. Transfer the spinach, eggs, and one teaspoon of salt to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process it into a smooth purée. Add three cups of flour and pulse to combine, adding more flour if the dough is sticky and a splash of water if the dough is dry. You are looking for the dough to have the same consistency as the dough you used to play with as a kid.
Remove the dough from the processor, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or upturned bowl, and set it aside to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and prepare the sauce.
For the sauce, rinse your food processor and add peas, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and lemon zest. Pulse to finely chop. Add in the lemon juice, Parmigiano Reggiano, and half a cup of olive oil and process into a smooth, thick pesto, adding more oil if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Assemble, Cook and Serve
Retrieve the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough that are roughly the size of a quarter or a more extensive marble, and, working on a lightly floured work surface, use your hand to roll into a thick spaghetti-shaped noodle that is slightly tapered on the ends. Alternatively, divide the dough into four and roll each to a scant quarter-inch thickness. Cut each section into strips and roll each into a thick spaghetti-shaped noodle slightly tapered on the ends. This shape of hand-rolled pasta is known as pinci and is not supposed to be uniform or perfect – you want the noodles to be about the same thickness so they cook evenly.
When all the dough has been rolled, add to the boiling salted water and cook for five minutes or until al dente. Use a glass measuring cup to reserve one and a half to two cups of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.
Transfer the pasta back into the pot along with the pesto and stir to combine, adding a few splashes of the reserved cooking liquid until the sauce is creamy and evenly coats the noodles.
Serve topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and some fresh tomatoes and herbs, if you’d like. Enjoy!