Monday, July 2, 2012

Sneak in Those Veggies!! (With or Without a Pasta Machine!)

I have a problem most parents experience in preschool aged children...Archer refuses to eat. And when he does eat, he refuses to eat healthy. In an effort to avoid a battle at every meal, I decided to sneak in some veggies into a format I knew Archer would love...pasta!

Making pasta may seem intimidating if you've never made it before, but it is relatively simple to make once you've gone through the process. Granted, it does require more effort that reaching into your pantry and pulling out a box of store made pasta, but the taste of homemade pasta is worth tenfold the effort.

You'll need:

1 - 10oz box frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 large eggs

1- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once water is boiling, add the package of spinach. Let it cook 45-60 seconds. Pour contents of the pot into colander and run it under cold water for a few sec. Once the spinach cools down, squeeze it until you remove all moisture.

2- Crack the 5 eggs into a bowl, add spinach, and a little salt. Whisk together.

3- Place the flour on a mat or clean working surface, make a well in the flour. Pour in the egg mixture. Slowly push in flour from the inside of the well into the egg and mix. When half the flour is incorporated, start kneading the dough. Once the dough has formed set it aside and scrape away any flour that was not incorporated.

4- Lightly flour your workspace and begin kneading the dough again. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth and just slightly sticky. It should not stick to the counter or your hands. This should take 5-10 min.

5- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

6- Now you're ready to roll out your dough. You can either use a pasta machine or roll it out by hand. A pasta machine will more quickly and evenly roll out the dough for you and will also cut the dough as well.

If you don't have a pasta machine, you can roll it out by hand, but it will take longer and you may not be able to get it as thin as a pasta machine. Flour the dough before rolling to prevent it from sticking.

If you want to roll the dough out by hand, make a small ball out of the dough and flatten it with your hands as shown in the upper righthand side of the pic. Then finish rolling it out with your rolling pin.

Again, a pasta machine will cut the dough for you, but if you doing it by hand, use a knife to cut the dough in your desired shape. (Or with your child's favorite cookie cutters!!)The thinner the pasta, the less time it takes to boil. Also, the thinner the pasta, the less it tastes like spinach and if you're trying to use this to sneak veggies into a young child, this is a good tip to remember. Trust me, thick spinach pasta will be sent back by a discerning 3 year old!!