Spinach Fettucini with Artichoke Sauce

One of my favorite things is spinach artichoke dip.
But you can’t just sit down and eat a bowl of it.
At least you shouldn’t.

More than once a year.

Maybe twice.

The problem is that you really can’t make just a bowl full, so it only gets made on special occasions.  And then there’s always other people around, eating my dip. Errr.. the dip.

Anyhoo, I think I may have found a solution.
At least when I’ve got folks over for dinner. Thanks to a little urging from little sister, that’s what happened Sunday night.

Spinach Fettucini with Artichoke Sauce

What You Need

Pasta

215 grams (or so) of semolina flour
1/4 lb. fresh spinach
2 eggs

Sauce

1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
4 oz neufchatel cream cheese
2 oz. fresh mozarella (the stuff in water, if you can find it)
1/2 cup skim milk
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large white onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt to taste

What To Do With It

Sauce

Destem, then boil (or steam) the spinach.  Set it aside in a strainer and let it drain.

Sautee the onions and garlic over medium-low heat.  When they’re done, add the rest of the ingredients, but only a pinch of salt, along with about 1 cup water. Keep it on the same heat and stir occasionally. You’re going to reduce this until it’s thick and creamy.

Pasta

Drain your spinach fully by squeezing it. Mince it 10 ways from Sunday (pretty much turn it into a paste). This is not as hard as it sounds. It takes about 1 minute.

Get about 200 grams of flour.  Either put in in a large bowl, or on a workspace.  Make a little well and crack the eggs in.  Mix with a fork until it starts clumping.

Now show that pasta who’s boss for the next 5 mintues or so. Knead it. Pound it. Fold it. Repeat.

Add the spinach and do it again.  You’ll note that it’s sticking to your hands.

Add some flour.

Repeat.

Again…

(The amount of water your spinach retains will dictate how much flour you have to add.)

Keep going until you just pass the point where the pasta sticks to nothing, but is still soft.  (Add the flour slowly!)

Once your dough reaches that point, and is well-mixed, split the dough in two batches.  Run each batch through your pasta machine until the penultimate setting. Mine is an Atlas, and I run it through until it gets to setting 5. Cut your dough in half, run it through again on the next setting, then cut your fettucini.  Lay it out to dry. If you don’t have pasta rack, a pastry cloth works nicely.

Put a pot of water on to boil. Check your sauce. If it hasn’t reduced enough, turn up the heat a bit. Add a bit of salt and taste it .

After your pasta gets dry enough that it doesn’t want to stick to itself (about 10-15 minutes), it’s ready to cook.  3 1/2 minutes will do it. Maybe four, but no more.

Dish up your pasta, ladle out some sauce and buon appetito!

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