My first time making pasta: Frascatelli with Pecorino and Spinach

I did it. I made my first homemade pasta. Every time I buy spaghetti or pasta, I always think it would be great to try making them from scratch. And it’s especially tempting when I see the pasta attachments for the Kitchenaid mixer (something I have also yet to get).

Frascatelli are a semolina dumpling, and in my opinion the best type of pasta to start with, since there is no drying or complicated steps. Semolina flour has a high percentage of gluten, which helps make pasta strands stretch and not break when cooking (according to the package). It would be interesting to see what the gluten-free equivalent would be. You may not find this at your local grocery store, but it is available in Italian markets or specialty food stores.

frascatelli with chicken

Frascatelli with onions, red peppers, and spinach with a side of chicken.

This recipe is from bon appétit’s Thanksgiving issue (one of their best issues in my opinion), and one they feature as fast, easy, and fresh. I wasn’t able to get mustard greens in time, so I decided to add sauteed onions, peppers, and spinach instead. If you decide to try this recipe, it will be the quickest you ever make a pasta dish from scratch.

What you’ll need
2 cups semolina flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 sliced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
1 – 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
red bell pepper
2 tbsp. vodka sauce
Pecorino cheese

Spread semolina flour in an even layer in an 8x8x2″ baking dish. Fill a small bowl with 1 cup water and set next to dish. Working in 4 – 5 batches, gather water between your fingertips and thumb of one hand and splatter over semolina. Repeat several times until surface of semolina is dotted with ragged wet patches about the size of a nickel. Let stand until water is absorbed, forming individual dumplings (well, more like dumpling shapes), about 5 seconds.

Semolina flour sprinkled with water

Semolina flour sprinkled with water. Some of my patches are more quarter-sized, but it still works.

Using a fish spatula or slotted spoon, turn dumplings over to coat with semolina, then transfer to a sieve. Hold the sieve over the same baking dish and shake gently to remove excess semolina; transfer dumplings to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until remaining semolina has been used.

Semolina dumplings

You’ll end up with a variety of dumpling sizes.

Working in 3 – 4 batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of slowly boiling salted water (like a slow rolling boil; not rapidly because the dumplings could break), gently swirling water a couple times to prevent sticking, until al dente, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer frascatelli to a large rimmed baking sheet (you can use a new one, but I just used the one with the uncooked dumplings on it, and just made sure they stayed separated).

In a skillet, heat some oil and saute onions and red pepper. Then set aside in a bowl.

Clean out that skillet and heat butter over medium heat until it’s foamy and browned bits form at the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Add vodka sauce. Then add the cooked frascatelli and toss gently to coat with sauce. Gently stir in the onions and peppers, and finally add the spinach. Cook for about another minute. Top with Pecorino and serve.

frascatelli mix

Combining everything together.

You could eat this as your meal or serve it with anything you wish. I decided to serve it with a side of chicken that was cooked in the vodka sauce as well.

frascatelli with chicken

Frascatelli with onions, red peppers, and spinach with a side of chicken.

Have you ever made fresh pasta?

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10 thoughts on “My first time making pasta: Frascatelli with Pecorino and Spinach

  1. Wow I bet homemade pasta is sooo much tastier than the store bought. That is just an assumption though. I had hand made chow mein noodles at a restaurant a while back and it made all the difference…I am now inspired to try it out something shortly!

  2. Pingback: Porter Italian Style Dinner | familyrecipebooks

  3. I’m hoping to make this dish this tonight for dinner! I’m a little nervous about accidentally dissolving the dumplings but you’ve given me some confidence. And inspiration because that looks sooo good!

    • That’s so exciting, I’m glad you’re trying it. I didn’t have any problems with the dumplings dissolving, but I do have one tip to share. Don’t try to rush the process and put too many dumplings in the water at the same time because then some end up cooking too long, and they end up a little mushy. Let me know how it turns out for you!

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