Celebrate St. Pat's with green pasta dish

As a change from corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, Roberta Dowling, owner of Creative Cuisine cooking school in Cambridge, Mass., suggests fresh green spinach noodles with lightly cooked green vegetables.

Along with the recipe for the 17th, here are some of her tips on making fresh pasta at home.

''You can make pasta by hand the old-fashioned way, or with a hand machine, but I prefer the electric machine because it kneads the dough thoroughly and takes only 10 minutes,'' Roberta says.

She emphasizes that no matter which method is used, it's important to watch the proportion of the ingredients carefully. The consistency of the dough should be soft, malleable, and somewhat dry, rather than wet or sticky.

If using a machine, try to cut noodles the same size so they will cook evenly.

Don't overcook fresh pasta. It takes just a few minutes until it's al dente or slightly firm to the bite.

Stir pasta while it's cooking so that it doesn't stick together. A pasta comb works well, but any long fork will do.

Drain boiled pasta and add sauce immediately, then lightly mix together.

Serve with bread and a green salad for a true St. Patrick's Day celebration. Pasta Alla Giardinera Verde 3 cups heavy cream 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste Pinch nutmeg 1 pound spinach pasta 3/4 cup broccoli flowerettes, blanched until tender 1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted and rinsed under warm water 1/2 cup asparagus tips, blanched until tender 1/3 cup celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, blanched until tender 10 snow peas, blanched until tender 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In medium-size skillet, reduce cream over low heat by almost 1/2, or until cream thickens. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use.

Bring large amount of water to a boil. Salt water and add pasta. Stir gently with wooden spoon to prevent pasta from sticking to bottom of pot. Boil pasta 3 to 4 minutes or until al dentem. Drain pasta and combine with broccoli, peas, asparagus, celery, and snow peas.

Heat cream sauce and toss with pasta and vegetables, mixing well. Add parsley and taste for seasonings. If desired, pass additional cheese.

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