I love how serendipitous the rhythm of life is. After a busy few months preparing for my new cookbook to be released I was in desperate need of a little break, and so the slower pace of autumn arrives. Early nights, warm fires and the therapeutic knitting needles are out. I have been enjoying simplifying again, and fortunately the school holidays means no morning rush and a short reprieve from the busy daily routine.
Once the initial excitement of Easter (and all that brings!) has passed the children start to run out of ideas and I get scratching my head for some hands-on activities. I have been meaning to test a sourdough pasta recipe for months so this was a great excuse to get the pasta machine out. I bought my pasta roller 20 years ago when I was training as a chef, and although it doesn’t get used all that often, it is a kitchen appliance I treasure.
However, you don’t need a machine to make pasta, a rolling-pin and a bit of elbow grease works just fine. And this style of pasta, pappardelle, is rustically hand cut so it doesn’t require the cutting teeth of the pasta roller either. I invite you to give it go sometime, maybe in these last few days of the school holidays if you have young children to entertain.
The sourdough component is completely optional too, but I really love the tender bite the lacto-fermented flour provides. The pasta doesn’t taste overly sour, just like good sourdough bread shouldn’t, rather a hint of sour in balance with the other flavours. I add sourdough to pretty much everything made with flour and grains these days – crackers, cakes, pikelets, pastry, scones, porridge. Everything.
Not only does it make gluten-containing flours easier to digest, but it is also a great way to use up the excess starter I have from the daily feeds. As you can probably gather I am rather passionate about this subject and have included a comprehensive guide to sourdough in my new book along with recipes for bread and other everyday uses as mentioned above. If you do make this pasta please let me know how you go, either via email or show me on Instagram @homegrownkitchen.
P.S. Thank-you for all your words of support and encouragement over the last few weeks about my new cookbook – either at my book launch or via email/social media. It still feels surreal to me that my Homegrown Kitchen cookbook is out in the world. This is the book I have always wanted to write, and I poured my heart and soul into the pages. A big-hearted thank you to everyone who has bought a book (or planning to 😀) it truly means the world to me – and please tell your friends about it too!
“I’ve just bought your beautiful cookbook, and just wanted to say thank you, this is without a doubt the best book I have ever bought. Hands down.” from Jess – via email.
If you don't have a sourdough starter simply omit it from the recipe. However, leaving the dough to rest for 30 minutes or longer will make it easier to roll as the starch and gluten relax. The Creamy Thyme Mushrooms barely requires a recipe as it is so incredibly simple so have kept the ingredients brief, trust your instinct here adding a little more butter or cream if you feel it needs it.
2 cups white spelt flour or organic white flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 free-range eggs
2 tablespoons bubbly sourdough starter (fed 6 - 12 hours prior)
300g mushrooms, roughly sliced - I used Neudorf Mushrooms Saffron Milk Caps
a generous knob of butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
sprig of thyme, leaves removed from the stalk
splash of cream
salt and pepper to season
- Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, make a well and add the eggs and sourdough starter. Use a fork to whisk together, gradually mixing in the flour until the dough comes together. Tip onto the bench and knead for several minutes until smooth. Depending on the size of the eggs you may need to add little more flour if the dough is sticky, or splash of water if it is dry. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a plate. Set in a warm place for 3-6 hours for the sourdough starter to do its magic.
- Attach the pasta machine to the edge of a bench or table and set the roller to the widest setting. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead until smooth. Divide evenly into 4 pieces. Take one piece and shape into a flat rectangle. Sprinkle the machine with flour to prevent sticking and pass the dough through the rollers twice. Then fold the dough into three (like a letter) and roll two more times on the widest setting. Reduce the width of the rollers and pass the dough through twice and then repeat on the next setting until the strip of pasta is long and thin. I got to the second to last setting. Lay the strip of pasta on the bench and use the sharp tip of knife to cut into approx. 2cm wide lengths of pasta. Hang on the back of a chair and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bring a large pot of water (3-4 litres) to a rapid boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and add the fresh pasta. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the pasta floats and is al dente to the bite. The pasta can also be shaped into nests and dried on a tray. Cook within 3 days or freeze and used within 2 months (boil straight from frozen). Dried and frozen pasta can take 1-2 minutes longer to fully cook.
- To make the creamy mushrooms, heat the butter in a heavy-based skillet until foaming. Add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and toss for several minutes. Pour over a generous splash of cream and cook for 1 minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately on bowls of fresh pappardelle with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.