I Made Codette

One of my 2012 Culinary Projects is to make homemade pasta in the four walls of my kitchen. Preferably one that doesn’t involve a pasta machine or chitarra. I have been aiming at gnocchi but well, to make it interesting and funny, I made codette from Domenica Marchetti’s Glorious Pasta of Italy.

It’s basically boiled spinach, pureed then mixed into flour, kneaded into a dough, before you start shaping them into a 10-12 cm length. It was very simple but it does take a lot of time shaping it. Best to do this on the day that you have a lot of things on your mind to sort through.

“I wanted to laugh when I saw ur pasta, I thought that u invented new green bean 😉 but then I ate, and its very gd for me. I’m not sure they need more cooking. So now I’m happy and thinking abt dessert 😉 I love u my super ratatouille chef 🙂 one day I have to make a movie w u 🙂 kisses :* :* “

Now you understand when I say I have a big boy at home.

SPINACH CODETTE WITH MINCED BEEF AND PEAS
(adapted from The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti)
serve 1 large portion

100 gr minced beef (or italian sausage, removed from its casing)
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp tomato sauce – I used canned tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas
freshly grounded black pepper
salt
a quarter recipe of fresh spinach pasta – see note below

  • Make the pasta dough and let it rest as directed. Spread a clean tablecloth on a large work surface and dust with the semolina (or all purpose flour). This is where you will put the pasta once it is shaped.
  • Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and rewrap the remaining dough. Place the piece of dough on a work surface lightly dusted with semolina, and roll it into a rope about the thickness of a finger or fat breadstick.
  • Cut the rope crosswise into marble-sized pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each piece into a thin strand 10 to 12 cm long and about the thickness of a skinny green bean. As you shape each strand, transfer it to the semolina-dusted cloth. Continue to shape the codette until you have used up all the dough. (If you are serving the codette the same day, you can leave them out on the cloth for up to a couple of hours.)
  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt & OO.
  • While the water is heating, heat up the pan and (without oil) spread over the minced beef. Use the back of your spatula to break it into smaller balls. Once they are half cooked and the meat fats has turned liquid, add in the garlic and toss. If it’s too dry, add some OO. Otherwise, if the meat is rich with fats, you won’t need any additional oil.
  • Saute the meat until it’s cooked through. Lower the heat to medium, add peas and tomato sauce, and stir occasionally. Season with salt & pepper. Once it’s ready, remove from heat and cover.
  • Carefully drop the codette into the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook the noodles up till al dente, about 15 mins (see note).
  • Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce.
  • Transfer the dressed pasta to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

SPINACH PASTA DOUGH
(source The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti)
makes about 455 gr

255 gr fresh baby spinach
2 extra large eggs
2 – 2 1/4 C all purpose flour (preferably unbleached)
2 tbsp semolina flour and more for dusting – see note below
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • Pour 1 to 2 tbsp of water into a pot over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, cover, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until wilted and tender. Drain the spinach in a colander set in the sink. When it is cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • Put the spinach and 1 egg in a food processor. Process to a smooth puree. Scoop the spinach mixture into a bowl. Wash and dry the work bowl and blade of the food processor and reassemble the processor.
  • Put 2 cups all purp. flour, the 2 tbsp semolina flour, salt, and nutmeg in the food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the spinach mixture and the remaining egg and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs that look like small curds. Pinch together a bit of the mixture and roll it around. It should form a soft ball. If the mixture seems dry, drizzle in a few droplets of water and pulse briefly. If the mixture seems too wet and sticky, add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse briefly.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface sprinkled lightly with semolina flour and press it together with your hands to form a rough ball. Knead the dough: Using the palm of your hand, push the dough gently but firmly away from you, and then fold it over toward you. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the pushing and folding motion. Continue kneading for several minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. Form it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Note:
~ DM’s spinach pasta dough recipe makes for 4-6 serving of codette. For H and I, I halved the dough recipe.
~ To make one large serving of codette, I used only half of the dough, essentially making it only a quarter of DM’s dough recipe. I still have the other half in my fridge.
~ I didn’t have semolina flour, so I forwent* this and worked only with all purpose flour. T55 is the name here, I have no clue if it’s blanched or not.
~ I shaped the codette a day before, dusted them with lots of flour (so they won’t stick) and froze them. On the day of cooking, I dump the frozen codette immediately into boiling water.
~ DM said to boil it for 20-25 mins, I boiled it only about 15 mins maximum. I think. I was following the news on tsunami warnings in Aceh, Singapore etc – so pardon me.  But both H and I think it’s well cooked. It’s chewy with a bite.

Yes, this takes a lot of time making, but in the end, it worths every second. I love it and H loves it. I’m happy and he’s happy. What more can you ask for?

* forwent is the past tense of forgo. I actually had to google for it!

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