One of the most popular recipes in my Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook, having been featured at several blogs (including Backyard Renaissance and Simply Homemaking), is Dandelion Noodles. But even if you've read that book, you may not know you can use the very same recipe for any type of green, from nettles to collards and kale to - yes! - ordinary old spinach.
If you've never made homemade noodles before, you're in for a treat. They are easy to make - and taste so much better than anything you can buy. I consider this a beginner's recipe - that is to say, the taste is very mild. If you already love dandelions or other greens, feel free to increase the amount of greens in the recipe.
Spinach Noodle Recipe (Dandelion Noodle Recipe, Nettle Noodle Recipe, or Other Greens Noodle Recipe)
1 1/4 cups greens (dandelion leaves, spinach leaves, etc. If using greens with thick stems running through the leaf, be sure to cut the stems out. Pack down the greens in the measuring cup.)
2 tablespoons water
1 + cups all purpose flour
|Pack down the greens when measuring. By the way, on the left hand side is my fruit and vegetable keeper. I highly recommend it! I find it adds weeks to the life of my veggies.|
1. Place the greens and water in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium until the leaves are tender. Watch closely; if the water evaporates, add a tablespoon more. Don't allow the greens to scorch!
2. Add the egg and a pinch or two of salt, stirring to combine.
3. Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until pureed. (Or, use a blender to puree the greens.)
4. Pour the leaf mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in 1 cup of flour. If the dough is still soft, add a little more flour and mix again, repeating until the dough is stiff. If the mixture is too dry, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
5. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 1 minute.
6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough very thin. Leave the dough untouched for 20 minutes.
7. Cut the noodles about 1/4 inch thick. (For the photos, I made the noodles pretty thick; my kids like them that way. But rolling the dough as thin as you can and cutting the noodles no more than 1/4 inch thick makes them more like the type of pasta you buy in the store.) If desired, you can loosely roll the dough into a cigar shape, cut into 1/4 inch strips, then unroll the noodles and cut them to whatever length you desire.
8. You may now cook the noodles, or you may dry or freeze them for storage.
To dry the noodles, leave them in a single layer on the lightly floured counter, place them in a food dehydrator, or hang them on a pasta drying rack or a clothes drying rack. To avoid spoilage, be sure the noodles are completely dry before storing them.
I personally never frozen fresh pasta, but you can. Just place the noodles flat on a baking sheet, or form into little "nests" and set them on a baking sheet; place the baking sheet in the freezer until the noodles feel solidly frozen, then transfer to an air tight freezer container for up to three months.
To cook the noodles right away, just toss into boiling water. Fresh pasta doesn't take as long to cook as dried or frozen pasta, so test for doneness frequently. (To test, just remove a strand of pasta with a fork, allow it to cool for a minute, then taste.) If it will be 2 hours or less before you need to cook the noodles, place them in an airtight container, or in a platter covered tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate and cook as soon as possible.
To serve, use whatever pasta sauce you like, or just butter the noodles.