It’s a few weeks before we’ll see wild leeks (also known as ramps) available in local markets but I still have some dried ones available from last year. If you don’t have dried ramps, don’t fret – this will work with any dried herb (and would theoretically work with fresh ones if you chopped them find though the color of the pasta may change).
The final product is hand-made noodles with dried herbs embedded in the middle. Instead of talking our way through this one, have a gander at the next five shots and they’ll show you the process (then we’ll share the process and recipe):
When we make handmade noodles we often fold the sheets on top of each other before pressing them through the rollers. As you can see above, we simply placed a bunch of dried ramp leaves on the pasta, folded it and ran it through the rollers. What isn’t clear is that we repeated this folding process (without herbs) a few times and ran it through the rollers each time to help fully distribute the herbs.
Dried Leek Pasta Recipe – Ingredients
- .75 cups semolina flour
- .75 cups 00 white flour (typically used for pizza) plus additional to flour kneading surface
- 3 eggs
- Solid pinch of salt (0.25-0.5 teaspoons)
- Handful of herbs (dried wild leek /ramp leaves in this case)
- Warm water
Dried Leek Pasta Recipe – Instructions
- Mix flours and salt together until consistent.
- Pour flour into a ‘mountain’ on a large cutting board.
- Use fingers or a glass (I prefer it) to create a crater in the middle of the mountain (the flour should look like a bowl).
- Crack the 3 eggs into the center of the crater.
- Use fingers (or the handle of a large spoon or even a whisk) to mix the flour into the eggs (I rotate them in a circular motion, bringing a small bit of flour into the egg mixture with each pass).
- Once the flour has incorporated all of the eggs, knead the mixture until it stretches (3-4 minutes). You may find the last bit of flour is difficult to mix – that’s a good thing. Be patient, it will come together. Continue to knead until it reaches the desired texture (I go for playdough) – add more water to soften, more flour to make it less sticky.
- Cover the dough (I use a damp towel) and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a disc and cut into 6-8 pieces.
- Roll each piece so that it’s thin enough to process in a pasta mill (or roll out with a rolling-pin). Process through the pasta mill at the thickest setting, fold in half, rotate and repeat 4- 5 times.
- Change the rollers and make them 1-step thinner and roll each sheet twice (if stacking sheets of flattened pasta make sure each has a small bit of loose flour to prevent the sheets from sticking to each other).
- Scatter herbs on each sheet. Fold in half and process through thickest setting twice.
- Adjust dial by 1-step, process each sheet twice.
- Repeat step 12 until you are at the thickness you wish.
- Cook until al dente in a large pot of boiling, salted water. This should take 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness you rolled your dough.
It’s far easier than it sounds – if you’ve made pasta before then it’s exactly the same process – only you add herbs when you fold the sheets the first time. The total additional time is a few minutes but the results are spectacular!
What herbs would/ have you added to fresh pasta?