Happy Easter to all!

When I was a kid, we’d often have “rainbow rotini” as a side at dinner.  My sister and I always ate the different colors preferentially — green first (since it was the least pleasant), then orange (since it was a little better), then white (best for last).  We were both picky eaters as kids, and she still is now.  When I handed her a plate of freshly cooked noodles the other day, her first question was how I got the noodles those different colors.  When I told her I used spinach and carrots, her face lit up with understanding:  “Oh!  No wonder I didn’t like the green or orange noodles as much.  I always thought they just used food coloring.”  :-)

This post is really about three things thrown together — one, how to make pasta dough with a food processor, two, how to make pasta that’s green or orange, and three, how to make bowtie noodles.  The food processor is a neat trick, and my future retort on all occasions when my dad wants to know why I watch cooking shows whenever I’m at his house — you never know when you’ll learn something useful!

As always when it comes to pasta, you can refer to this post for the basics on how to make, shape, and cook my gluten-free pasta; in particular you’ll find the basic proportions for the ingredients.  Now let’s get to it.  :-)

Tri-Color Bowtie Pasta

Yield:  As much as you make, really — about 1/4 lb noodles per egg “plain,” about 1/2 lb per egg with spinach, about 1 lb per egg with carrots.

Ingredients:

  • eggs
  • olive oil (2 tsp per egg)
  • pasta mix (start at a scant half cup per egg and add more as needed)
  • whatever you want to puree — in this case, 3 oz boiled spinach (for the green noodles) and 3 oz boiled carrots (for the orange noodles)

Directions:

1.  First, combine egg(s) and olive oil in the food processor, and pulse it a time or two.  Then, add some pasta mix — maybe half the amount you expect to need — and run the processor again till the mixture is homogeneous.  Slowly add a bit more mix, running the processor each time.  As you get close, the dough will start to come together into a ball.  Keep going; each time you add more mix, the dough will first break up, then integrate the additional mix, and come back together.  When instead of coming together quickly, the dough stays crumbled, you’re about done.

2.  Carefully pour out the crumbly dough onto a clean countertop.  Use your hands to knead the crumble together into a dough (which is way easier than it sounds, trust me).

Ta da!  Now it’s ready to be shaped, either as detailed in this post, or, if you want bowties, as I go over in steps (4) and (5) below.

3.  Making green or orange pasta is easy:  Measure out about 3 oz of spinach (for green pasta) or carrots (for orange pasta).  Cover them with water in a small pot, and simmer on the stove until soft enough to puree well.  Then, puree the veggies in your food processor, and then follow the directions in steps (1) and (2) above — just start with the spinach or carrots in the bowl of the processor when you add the egg, olive oil, and pasta mix.  You’ll use much more mix, and accordingly produce much more pasta — about twice as much with spinach, and about four times as much with carrots.  So, when you use just 1 egg for each type of pasta, the result is something like this:

4.  Now all you need to do is make the bowtie noodles.  Roll each ball of dough out into a sheet that isn’t too thin — just the thickness you want the noodles.  (I roll them to thickness 7 on my Norpro pasta roller.)  Then cut the sheet into rectangles a bit longer than twice as long as they are wide.  I use this pastry wheel cutter, which has a straight wheel and a wavy wheel, to get a nice straight edge for the long side of the noodles, and a fancy edge for the short sides.

5.  To make the rectangles into bowties, take each rectangle and just squish the center of it together, like so:

A perfect bowtie wrinkles twice, not just once, which gives you the classic look:

But my unskilled little fingers can only get the dough to wrinkles up just right every so often.  :-)

6.  And that’s all she wrote.  Your tri-color bowtie pasta is ready to be portioned and stored in the freezer, or cooked now and hungrily devoured, as your needs demand.  :-)