Skillet pasta stands the usual pasta cooking method on its head by cooking it right in the pan. It works well with spelt pasta shapes like the rotini we used, or another twisted pasta. We particularly like somewhat bitter greens like mustard or dandelions in it, which make a nice contrast to the woody shiitakes and meaty chunks of pancetta.
Spelt Skillet Pasta with Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Wilted Greens
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, woody stems trimmed
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 serrano chile pepper, stemmed and minced
- 5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 pound dried fusilli or other short, twisted pasta
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch greens, such as dandelion, mustard, or kale, stems trimmed and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it’s lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add shiitakes and toss in the pan until well coated with oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes more, stirring often, until the mushrooms are brown and the pancetta has rendered most of its fat.
- Add serrano chile and shallot. Cook until just softened, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the contents to a bowl.
- Put the stock into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the spelt rotini. Stir the pasta occasionally and cook until it’s a little less than al dente. Add the greens to the skillet.
- Cook for about another minute, then then stir in pancetta mixture, including all the fat that was rendered from the pancetta.
- Continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, the greens are wilted, and most of the liquid has been absorbed into the pasta and made a creamy sauce. If the liquid has evaporated before the pasta is quite al dente, add water a teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the pan from the stove, stir in lemon juice and drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve right away in pasta bowls and pass the parmesan at the table.
Adapted from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/10/pasta-pancetta-shiitake-mushrooms-parmesan-recipe.html
We adapted these saffron spelt gnocchi from a traditional Sardinian dumpling made from semolina flour flavored with saffron called malreddus. Traditionally, saffron was cheaper in Sardinia than eggs, so they used it to give the dumplings a nice golden color and the flavor of saffron.
We enjoyed ours tossed in a tomato sauce enriched with butter. They would also go well with a meat ragu. Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese is appropriate.
Saffron Spelt Gnocchi
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook time: 3 minutes
- 400 g/1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- 795 g/4 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp white spelt flour, plus more as needed and for dusting
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Boil the water. Put the saffron in a small bowl, pour boiling water over, and let the saffron steep for 10 minutes
- Combine the white spelt flour, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook
- Strain the saffron water through a fine-mesh strainer placed over the large bowl. Press the saffron threads with your fingers to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard them.
- Knead by hand or in the stand mixer on medium speed until the dough comes together and is very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour at room temperature.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; dust well with more white spelt flour
- If the dough is at all sticky, knead in more white spelt flour 1 tsp at a time
- Put some white spelt flour on a plate. Cut off a chunk of dough about the width of two fingers with a knife or a bench scraper. Rewrap the rest to keep it from drying out. Coat the chunk by lightly rolling it in the white spelt flour on the plate. Roll it into a log about 1/ 4 in (6 mm) in diameter with your hands on an unfloured work surface. Cut the log into 1/ 2-in (12-mm) pieces.
- Lightly press each piece against a gnocchi board or the back of a fork with the side of your thumb. Curl the dough slightly around your thumb so the smooth side is indented a bit. Lay each piece ridged side up on the floured parchment paper. Make sure they don’t touch so they don’t stick together. Repeat until you’ve used all the dough.
- If you don’t want to cook the dumplings immediately, cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Or freeze some or all of them on the baking sheets and transfer to an airtight container once they’re frozen. Use within 1 month. You don’t need to thaw them before cooking.
- Generously salt a large pot of water and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Put the saffron spelt gnocchi in and simmer until they float to the surface, 1 to 3 minutes. Keep simmering them for 1 to 2 minutes more, until slightly al dente, then scoop them out right away with a slotted spoon or pasta scoop and toss them with whatever sauce you’re using. Serve immediately, passing parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
Adapted from Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta, by Jenn Louis
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe—with lots of black pepper and sharp salty pecorino romano cheese—is another quick classic Italian pasta dish that we’ve adapted here to use excellent VitaSpelt Spelt Spaghetti. This is definitely not a recipe to try with whole grain pasta.
Spelt Spaghetti with Black Pepper and Romano
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves 2 to 3
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound (225g) white spelt spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons (15g) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 cup; 55g), very finely grated on a Microplane or the smallest holes of a box grater, plus more for serving
- Cook 3 tablespoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon of black pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until ingredients are fragrant and pepper is barely starting to sizzle, about 1 minute. Set aside.
- Place spelt spaghetti in a large skillet and cover with water. Season with a small pinch of salt, then bring to a boil over high heat, prodding spaghetti occasionally with a fork or wooden spoon to prevent it from clumping. Cook until spaghetti is al dente (typically about 1 minute less than the package recommends). Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta cooking water to the skillet with the olive oil/pepper mixture. Stir in butter. Using tongs, lift spaghetti and transfer it to the oil/butter mixture.
- Add cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and stir with a fork until cheese is completely melted. Add a few more tablespoons of pasta water to the skillet to adjust consistency, reheating as necessary until the sauce is creamy and coats each strand of the spelt spaghetti. Season to taste with salt and more black pepper. Serve immediately, passing extra grated cheese and black pepper at the table.
Adapted from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/02/spaghetti-cacio-e-pepe-recipe.html
Green garlic is plentiful at our local farmer’s market right now, so we were happy to find Alice Walker’s recipe for spaghetti with green garlic. VitaSpelt Spelt Spaghetti works well for this dish. You could make this with whole spelt spaghetti; the sauce is robust enough to stand up to the chewier, more strongly flavored pasta.
Note the technique of reserving some pasta cooking water to make the sauce. The starch in the cooking water helps to emulsify the sauce so it coats the pasta better.
Spelt Spaghetti with Green Garlic
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 pound spelt spaghetti
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 heads green garlic (or 4 cloves regular garlic), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- small pinch of red pepper flakes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spelt spaghetti. Cook until al dente, testing it often (spelt spaghetti cooks a little faster than regular pasta). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook the mixture very slowly, stirring occasionally, until soft. Don’t let the onion caramelize too much; add a little water if necessary.
- Add the cooked, drained spelt spaghetti to the garlic mixture. Toss well to combine. Add some of your reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to bring the dish to a creamy consistency. Chop a couple of tablespoons of the green garlic scapes and garnish the spaghetti. Drizzle on a little more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Adapted from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/06/alice-waters-spaghetti-with-green-garlic.html
White spelt flour makes beautiful spelt egg pasta. If you’ve never made fresh pasta before, relax; it’s really quite easy, especially if you use a good quality Italian pasta machine like the Imperia we use at our house.
The Imperia comes with a cutter for making fettuccine and fresh egg spaghetti. Other attachments are available for making other fresh pasta shapes. Once you’ve made your dough and rolled it with the machine, it’s not hard to cut thicker noodles like pappardelle with a knife as long as you’re careful to flour the rolled sheets well before you roll them so they don’t stick together. Be sure to try maltagliati, which are odd shapes like trapezoids and triangles that you cut by hand out of a flat sheet, too.
Spelt Egg Pasta
Prep Time: About 1 hour
4 to 6 servings
- 2 ¼ cups/290 grams white spelt flour, more as needed
- ¾ teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
- 2 whole large eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- Put the white spelt flour and salt in a food processor with the metal blade and pulse a few times to mix.
- Add eggs, yolks and oil and process until the dough comes together. If dough looks dry, add another teaspoon olive oil. If dough looks wet, add a little spelt flour until dough is tacky and elastic.
- Turn the dough out on a clean work surface. Knead until very smooth.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest on the counter. You can also put it into the refrigerator overnight.
- Cut dough into 4 pieces and keep them covered with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Roll one piece of dough out into a sheet with the pasta machine at the widest setting. Fold the sheet in thirds like a letter and pass it through the machine twice more at the widest setting.
- Reduce the setting by 1, and repeat rolling and folding the dough, passing it through the machine 2 or 3 times before going to the next setting. For pappardelle and fettuccine, stop rolling when the dough is about 1 or 2 settings wider than the thinnest one on your roller. When you are done rolling the pasta sheets, hang them on the drying rack until you’re ready to cut them.
- For pappardelle, flour a sheet of pasta, roll it carefully so it doesn’t stick, and cut 1-inch-wide strips with a sharp knife. Use the fettucine cutter on the pasta machine for fettucine. Dry the cut spelt egg pasta on a drying rack, or lay flat on a floured sheet tray. If you lay it flat, be sure to sprinkle it with more flour before putting more cut pasta on top of it.
Adapted from http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017391-fresh-egg-pasta
A rich, delicious dish of spelt maltagliati (fresh pasta cut into irregular shapes) for late spring or early summer when the fava beans come in. Make your spelt egg pasta, and instead of cutting the sheets of dough with the pasta machine’s cutter attachment, lay them flat on a floured surface and cut them into trapezoids, triangles, and other simple geometrical figures: Maltagliati means badly cut, so have fun messing up!
To prepare the favas, shell them, drop them into boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes, then slip the skins off them.
Spelt Maltagliati with Favas, Tomatoes, and Sausage”
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 hour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 3/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 pound), blanched 3 minutes then peeled, or double-peeled frozen, thawed
- 3/4 pound fresh spelt egg pasta sheets, cut as desired
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for passing
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and hot red pepper. Sauté slowly about 6 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add sausages and break them up with a fork or wooden spoon. Sauté about 3 minutes, until the meat is nicely browned. Add the wine and simmer about 1 minute, incorporating the browned bits. Add the tomatoes and fave beans; sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook spelt maltagliati in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.
- Add sauce to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed if dry, about 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons cheese. Transfer pasta to bowl. Serve, passing additional cheese.
Adapted from http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fresh-pasta-with-favas-tomatoes-and-sausage
This easy spelt pizza dough makes 4 10″ pizzas. It’s pleasant to work with, freezes well, and tastes great. As we are a two person household, we usually freeze two of the dough balls for later and have the makings for an easy pizza party the next week.
Easy Spelt Pizza Dough
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Dough for 4 10″ pizzas
- 2 teaspoons/5 grams dry active yeast
- 4 ½ cups/625 grams white spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 teaspoons/5 grams kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons/30 milliliters olive oil
- Put 1 3/4 cups/420 milliliters lukewarm water in a mixing bowl (use a stand mixer or food processor if you prefer). Sprinkle yeast over water and let dissolve, about 2 minutes.
- Add spelt flour, salt and olive oil and mix well until flour is incorporated and dough forms, about 5 minutes. It may look a little rough or pockmarked.
- Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn dough out onto surface and knead lightly until it looks smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces, about 8 ounces/225 grams each.
- Wrap dough pieces individually in resealable zipper bags and refrigerate for several hours or, for best results, overnight; you can also freeze it for future use. (You can skip this rise in the refrigerator and use the dough right away, but this cool, slow rise makes it easier to stretch and gives the pizza a crisper texture and more nuanced flavor.)
- To use dough, form each piece into a smooth, firm ball, and place on a flour-dusted or parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you froze the dough, leave it at room temperature for several hours first, or defrost overnight in the refrigerator.) Flour lightly, cover loosely with plastic wrap and top with a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Each dough ball with make a 10-inch diameter pizza.
Adapted from http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017931-pizza-dough