I have always been intrigued by home made pasta. I would often roll some Gnocci or Orchiette quickly and boil it in my tomato soup and have it like a comforting meal for ourselves. We rarely have a pasta meal that has no vegetables even though we like spaghetti carbonara sometimes, the salad is served on the side.
No tutorial for home made Orchiettes here, but I am directing you to some nice videos so you can also make your own fresh hand rolled pasta at home.
Having pasta in a mushy saucy vegetable mix is what I find the most comforting. I just cannot function without my vegetables and often feel deprived when I am traveling. But that is another story. Some travels bring more to the table and it happened in the literal sense couple of months ago when we visited a village and brought back some farm fresh vegetables including a large whole pumpkin.
I usually buy whole but smaller pumpkins and keep using them for months. I hope you know how to keep pumpkin fresh for a couple of months.
Yes pumpkin keeps really well in the fridge. Take care to clean the pumpkin skin thoroughly before you cut it into wedges.You can then cut pumpkin into large wedges or halves, cling wrap and store in the lower compartment for 6 weeks easily. The more mature the pumpkin (with tough skin and orange flesh) the longer it stays good this way.
Now coming to the recipe, I actually started making Orchiette pasta with whole wheat after watching this video, and later moved on to make the same using a mix of millet flours. Making Orchiette this way is a great stress buster if you ask me. I sometimes make Orchiette when I want a break from my work or sometimes even while talking over phone. It doesn't take too long if you have to make Orchiette for just 2 servings.
I add them to my lentil soups, or cook it like Pasta alla Norma, but I have made it with pumpkin many times over. Sometimes a saucy pasta dish or sometimes added to a salad.
(2 large servings with lot of vegetables)
600 gm pumpkin cubed
200 gm summer carrots
200 gm cherry tomatoes (Or heirloom/desi variety)
few shredded leaves of spinach or rucola (I added a bit of both from the garden)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic ( I used a little more)
1 tsp red chilli flakes
fresh or dried mixed herbs (I used fresh sage and oregano)
salt to taste
Parmesan cheese to finish as much as you want
For the pasta dough (there will be some leftover)
1/4 cup ragi flour
1/4 cup barley flour
1 tbsp coarse chickpea flour (optional)
1 tsp olive oil
a little salt
water to knead a stiff dough
Mix everything for the pasta dough and add water slowly to knead a stiff dough. Let it rest for an hour or so.
With greased hands make Orchiette like this video. Do not worry if you cannot make then thin or well shaped, the pasta will be tasty after getting cooked. Store the shaped pasta dusted with flour for a day or two in refrigerator.
Boil with plenty of water with added salt when needed and use immediately.
To prepare the vegetables, cube the pumpkin, dice the carrots, quarter the tomatoes and toss them all with the rest of ingredients. Spread on a baking tray and bake at 160C for about 30 minutes. Watch out the time as it may differ with the size of cut.
You can spread it all on a shallow griddle, cover with a dome shaped lid and let it cook if you don't want to use the oven. I do that sometimes.
Once the pasta is cooked (it may take longer if made thicker), drain most of the water from it, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid while it is hot. Now dump all the baked vegetables into this cooked pasta with reserved liquid and toss gently. Adjust seasoning and serve right away.
Grate Parmesan over it and enjoy a hot and satisfying meal.
I have cooked this ragi based pasta so much that I even make tubular shaped pasta with it that you might find too thick here. It can be made thick or thin as you wish, follow the above links to see videos.
I do love such warm meals irrespective of the thickness of pasta, it should just be cooked through nicely. 'Al dente' or well done.
Here is the Pasta alla Norma version.
I like the nutty taste of whole grains in these pasta so much that I feel something is missing when I eat the regular pasta sometimes.
Try it sometime. Even if it sound the boring sort of healthy you will realize it is a comforting meal that you can make on your own. Replace millets with whole wheat if you wish but do try and make some home made pasta sometimes. Include children in this activity if you have to feed them, they would love to make their own pasta. Working with dough is as therapeutic as working with garden soil.