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Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita
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5 from 1 vote

Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita Sauce

Begin your exploration of fresh pasta with this surprisingly easy recipe. If you wish, skip the cilantro and make basic egg pasta. Kids gobble it up with just melted butter.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time1 hr

Ingredients

  • Pasta:
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 2 ¼ cup whole wheat flour (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon Real Salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Unbleached flour , as needed for rolling and cutting

*Sauce:*

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese
  • About 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pepitas , lightly toasted (see note)

Instructions

  • Make the pasta:
  • Mince the cilantro leaves in a food processor by turning the machine off and on about 6 times.
  • Add 2 cups of the flour, the salt and the eggs, and process until the dough forms a ball. The dough should not be wet. If needed, add the remaining flour, about a tablespoon at a time, and process the dough until it comes together. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead it briefly until smooth and elastic. Shape into a round disk. Wrap in plastic and let rest, 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Keep the unworked pieces covered.
  • With a pasta machine or by hand, roll out the dough. (see note)
  • Rolling the pasta:
  • Set the rollers at the widest setting. Lightly dust flour on one piece of the dough and pass it through the rollers. Fold it into thirds, and put it through the rollers a second time. Repeat the folding and rolling a few more times until you have a smooth rectangle of dough. To prevent the dough from sticking to the machine, dust it lightly with flour as you roll it out—but don’t use more flour than necessary.
  • Keep the rollers at the widest setting, and repeat that first roll with the remaining 7 portions of dough. (You can stack the rolled pieces on top of each other; just make sure they are dusted with enough flour to keep them from sticking together.)
  • From this point on, roll the dough lengths without folding. Reset the rollers for the next thinner setting.
  • Pass the dough through the rollers again until all 8 pieces are stretched as thin as possible. Again, you can stack the rolled pieces on top of each other, with enough flour to keep them from sticking together.
  • Reset the rollers for the next thinner setting and roll the pieces out. If the lengths of dough stretch too long to manage, cut them in half before moving down to a thinner setting.
  • Repeat the rolling process, using a thinner setting each round, until the dough is very thin, usually the last setting. (You want to be able to almost see the print of a magazine through the thin dough.)
  • Cut the pasta with your choice of cutting attachment. When the cut strands come out the other end, catch them with your arm and/or a pasta rack stick. Let the pasta dry on the rack. Alternatively dry the pasta in loose nests on a tray, with ample flour to prevent sticking.
  • To serve:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter on low flame. Add the goat cheese and water. Mix into a thin sauce, adding a bit more water if needed. Keep warm.
  • When your guests are seated and waiting, drop the pasta into the boiling water. Cook it 30 seconds to a minute, or until it is firm to the bite (al dente.) Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the goat cheese. Add the chopped cilantro and roasted pumpkins seeds, tossing everything together gently. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Pepitas are pumpkin seeds—they’re medium dark green and delicious by either name.
  • I love the earthiness of whole wheat pasta and its healthier, whole grain aspect, but you can replace with a portion of, or all unbleached white flour.
  • These instructions are for a pasta machine. Check out this video detailing how to make, roll and cut pasta by hand.