I want to share with you an old recipe that my grandmother and my aunt (and then my mother) cooked when I was a child.
I don't know the real origin from this recipe, but I'm from Argentina, so maybe it's an original dish from this country or maybe an adaptation from another one (please leave a comment if you already knew this dish and where you tried!).
It's called stuffed noodles, but it is more like many slices of stuffed pasta rolls. You need a lot of patient to prepare it, because it is quite long, but it is delicious and quite original! I didn't have the pasta machine, so that meant more work, but the dish worthed it!
Like lasagna, ravioli or other kind of pasta, you can adapt the recipe in a vegetarian dish.
Here, I made a vegetarian filling, but I used beef for the sauce, but it isn't mandatory!
- Rolling pin or pasta machine
- Frying pan
- Baking dish
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- A lot of old clean rags (ex. old napkin, old dishcloth))
- Kitchen twine
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Step 1: Ingredients (for 4/5 Diners)
- For the pasta:
- Eggs: 3
- Flour: 400 grams
- Water (room temperature): 10 soup spoons
- Olive oil: 3 soup spoons
- For the filling:
- Spinach: 900 grams
- Ricotta cheese: 400 grams
- Walnuts: 10 units
- Scallion: 1 unit
- Curry (optional)
- Turmeric (optional)
- For the sauce:
- Crushed tomato: a can of 780 grams
- Green pepper: a half
- Red pepper: a half
- Scallion: 2 units
- Ground beef: 250 grams
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese: 100 grams
Step 2: Prepare the Pasta
First of all, you need a perfectly clean kitchen counter (or table, that depends on you). Verifiy that the kitchen counter doesn't have any smell (not even from cleaning products).
- Make a flour rosca (or a tiny flour volcano).
- Scatter a bit of salt on the flour.
- Put theeggs, the water and the olive oil in the hole.
- Mix with a fork. First, the eggs, water and oil, and introduce the flour little by little from the internal walls. At the beginning it's very important to mix gently. Otherwise, the wall of your rosca (volcano) will be destroyed and the eggs will escape (no need to call the cops if they escape, put some flour on to stop them).
- Once the mix adopts a consistent texture, keep mixing with yours fingers, and finish adding the flour.
- Start to knead. Don't work the dough too much. The secret is in making a ball of dough, stretch it with the palms, and remake a ball of dough. Pay attention to the texture. If it's too firm, add some water (ex: get your hands wet and continue kneading, or, if it is too much liquid, add some flour). You should get a soft, smooth, unified dough. The key of success is: 1) you have a flexible but consistent dough and 2) the dough doesn't stick on your hands.
- Let it settle (covered with a very thin layer of flour. Ex: put some flour on your palm and then stroke the dough) and cover it with a clean dishcloth.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling (step 3) and the sauce (step 4)!
Step 3: Prepare the Filling
I used raw spinach, but you can use frozen or canned spinach. In such cases, go directly to step 4.
- Wash the spinach with cold water.
- Boil water in a saucepan.
- Put the spinach in the saucepan for 2-3 minutes.
- Strain it. Squeeze the spinach and remove water (this is important to get a good consistency of the filling).
- To cut:
- Option a: On a cutting board, chop the spinach and the scallion (if you don't have a scallion, you can replace it by an onion or a shallot);
- Option b: Use a hand blender to chop and mix the spinach and the scallion. Attention! Don't mix them too much.
- Put the mix in a bowl and add the ricotta, the salt, the pepper, the curry, the turmeric and some olive oil (the curry and the turmeric are optional. Also, you can replace them by your favorite spice).
- Finally, chop the walnuts and add to the filling.
- Store it in the fridge.
Step 4: Prepare the Sauce
I made a sauce with beef, if you prefer you can use a vegan sauce, like this one: vegan bolognese sauce by scoochmaroo.
- Wash the red and green peppers. Cut them in half. I used one half of each, you can use more or less, as you like. (Advice: you can freeze the remaining half!).
- Chop the peppers and the scallions (previously peeled).
- Put some vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat it.
- Add the peppers and the scallions. Stir the ingredients and let them cook for 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
- Mix in the ground beef, stir, and cover and cook at low heat for 10-15 minutes. Control it regularly, you don't want that the beef or vegetables burn (maybe you do, in this case buy a fire extinguisher).
- Once the beef is cooked, add the crushed tomatoes. Cover and cook at low heat for 20-25 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add some stock.
- Set the sauce aside and get back to the dough!
Step 5: Stretching the Pasta
Stretching the dough is a really fun activity. I loved it when I was a child!
This time, I didn't have a pasta machine, so I did it old-fashioned. It's a little longer...
- Cut pieces of pasta (medium size: like a billiard ball).
- Flatten each piece. Put some flour on the kitchen counter and stretch each piece with the rolling pin (or use the pasta machine). Try to make a rectangle shape (you don't need a perfect one), keep in mind that you'll need to roll it up later.
- To prevent that dough sticks, use some flour (flour is the answer to everything).
- Keep stretching until the dough is thin enough. How do you know if the pasta is thin enough? Well, if this helps you, you should be able to see the shape of your fingers, but not your actual fingers (like on the photo). Warning! You'd rather have it thick than too thin.
Step 6: Assembling and Boiling
- Put the rectangle-shaped pasta on a rag (like an old clean napkin).
- Spread some fillingon (a thin layer). Leave some centimeters of pasta without filling around the sides, it will make your work easier later.
- Roll up the pasta. You can use the rag to roll up, but don't roll up within the rag!!!!. Don't press too much the pasta, but don't leave it loose either.
- Ta-da! You have a beautiful and softy roll of pasta and filling. Now, you have to wrap it in the rag, like a candy. Do it gently.
- With the kitchen twine, make a knot on each end. Make sure to catch the ends of pasta, and not only the ends of rag. It's important to tie tight. You can add a knot at the middle. You have now a giant candy. Make a giant candy with each rectangle.
- Boil water in a big saucepan and put the "candies" init (ideally, the candies should be entirely submerged).
- Lower the heat and let cook for 40 minutes. You can turn it over with the tongs.
- Finally, take off the candies from water. Allow to cool. I stored them in the fridge until next day.
This is the most original part. Let's get started!
Step 7: Prep and Bake
Whoopee, this is the final step!
- Unwrap the pasta candies and cut the ends.
- Cut each pasta candy in slices of 2 centimeters (more or less, this isn't rocket science).
- Overspread some sauce on the baking dish.
- Put the slices of pasta over the sauce.
- Cover with sauce.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on.
- Bake for 25/30 minutes at very slow oven. You don't really need to cook it, but to heat up and grill, so 120 °C (250 °F) at most.
And that's all folks! Enjoy this recipe, try it, adapt it, and please, let me know if you liked it!
If you have any question, feel free to contact me :)
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