Spinach pasta with sundried tomatoes, leek and arugula

You know how sometimes you’re planning to make just a simple pasta dinner and then you wind up spending three hours in the kitchen? No? Well maybe it’s just me.

All I wanted was to fill my carb craving. A nice homemade pasta, with a simple olive-oil based sauce with sundried tomatoes, leek and arugula. Simple ingredients, lots of flavor, not too much work.

But then I decided to make spinach pasta. And then Eitan asked that I turn the pasta into ravioli.

So I’ve included three recipes here — one for the sauce, for those who want just a quick meal; one for the spinach pasta, for those who want higher returns in exchange for a larger investment; and one for the ravioli filling, for the truly crazy.

Coincidentally, the green pasta topped with the tomatoes and arugula wound up looking quite appropriate for Christmas. Not that you’ll find too many people celebrating it here. For those interested in how Christmas is celebrated in the holy land, you can read a bit about it on Sarah’s post.

Note: This recipe can easily go parve or vegan, since the only dairy is the cheese in the ravioli filling, and the Romano topping the pasta before serving. You can just omit them.

For four servings:

For the sauce:
Olive oil — cheap oil for cooking, and good oil for drizzling
150 grams leek, cut into rings (the white half of the leek)
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
Big handful sun-dried tomatoes, diced (about 15 tomatoes)
Splash red wine (about 1/3 cup)
Big handful arugula, chopped
Optional: Chopped spinach (if you’re not using spinach ravioli; or, add the leftover filling from the ravioli)
Salt and pepper
Grated Romano cheese for serving

For the pasta dough:
150 grams chopped spinach
300 grams semolina (I used a mix of whole wheat and white)
300 grams flour

For the ravioli filling:
350 grams chopped spinach
150 grams chopped leek (the green half of the leek)
100 grams chopped mozzarella
50 grams grated Romano cheese
Salt to taste — remember, the cheeses already contain some salt

To make the sauce:

Start frying the leek in some oil in a pan. When the leek begins to soften, add the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown, add the tomatoes and the wine — the wine will boil off. Add a bit of water from cooking the spinach to keep the sauce moist. Add spinach/extra ravioli filling, if you’d like

Turn off the flame and let sit until the pasta is ready. Reheat right before serving, and add the arugula once the sauce is warm but no longer is on the flame.

Top pasta with sauce, a nice drizzle of good olive oil and Romano cheese.

To make the pasta dough:
Boil the spinach in a pot with a few centimeters of water, until it has reduced in size and is soft. Drain the spinach and set the water aside.

Mix the spinach with the flours, squeezing and kneading with your hands. Add the cooking water a small bit at a time, until the dough just holds together — it should have the consistency of hard play dough. All told, you’ll be adding about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of liquid, depending how much liquid was in your spinach and how humid your flour was. Knead the dough a bit to help it become pliable.

Roll out with your pasta maker until you reach thickness #5 — 1/16 of an inch thick, or 1.6 millimeters. (I have more detailed instructions for making pasta in this post.) Alternating the direction that you feed the dough through the machine will give it a more uniform green color; feeding it through the same direction every time will give it green streaks.

To make the ravioli filling:
Boil the spinach and the leek in a pot with a bit of water, until they reduce in size. Drain out the water, and knead the cooked leaves a bit with your hands to help break them into smaller pieces. Mix in the mozzarella and the Romano.

Fill ravioli by hand, using a small scoop of filling for each piece, or use the ravioli attachment on your pasta maker.

To cook the pasta:
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and oil. Add the pasta/ravioli, and let boil for about two minutes (fresh pasta cooks much quicker than dry packaged pasta). Drain and serve with the sauce.

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