Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with! Mandatory Items were: Prepare some pasta by hand, without the use of motorized tools, and prepare the appropriate sauce/seasoning to go with it. The concept of “noodle” or “pasta” is being applied very loosely here, as some traditional recipes may seem closer to a dumpling than what you consider a noodle. Use your own judgment and creativity here.
This month’s challenge was all about getting your hands dirty or more accurately floury lol. Steph challenged us and encouraged us to submit examples from our own cultural backgrounds on making pasta or noodles that are cooked or served with a sauce. The first thing that came to my mind is Shish barak, which is basically a pasta stuffed with minced meat and herbs and cooked in a yogurt sauce. I know that the idea of a yogurt sauce might seem really strange but it is a staple in middle eastern cooking. Yogurt or “laban” is used as a sauce in many recipes, we cook green beans in it, stuffed zucchini and kubbeh (small pockets of bulgur stuffed with minced meat and nuts).
The yogurt sauce makes a wonderful creamy and slightly tangy background to anything cooked in it. If you have never tried it before it is really worth a try. Your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised.
For the dough
2 cups flour
250 grams minced meat
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 green onion finely chopped (optional)
5-10 springs mint
1-10 springs parsley
drizzle of olive oil
2 liters greek yogurt
drizzle olive oil
Mix the ingredients for the stuffing, set aside
To make the dough
In a bowl whisk the salt with the flour, make a well in the middle
add the egg and using a fork start mixing the egg with the flour gradually.
When the flour has taken up the egg, add water little by little until you get a firm dough (I used 1/4 cup water)
Roll out the dough untill it is a few mm thick (don’t use flour to roll the dough, use parchment paper or spread some oil on your working surface. If you use flour , some of it will be on the surface of the pasta and when you put the pasta in the yogurt the extra flour will thicken the sauce too quickly. That will not give enough time for the dough or the stuffing to cook)
Using a small cup or any round shaped thing cup circles out of the dough
Place some stuffing into the circle them close it to form a crescent, make sure you seal the dough well (pinch the edges together several times)
take one side of the crescent and fold it over the other to form the shape you see in the picture
Cover the ones you finish with a clean cloth until you finish the rest
To make the yogurt sauce
Beat the yogurt with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt in the food processor or blender until it becomes liquid and smooth
Pour the yogurt into a pot, add the leftover stuffing to it.
on medium heat stir the yogurt none stop until it comes to a boil.(if you stop stirring the yogurt sauce will split into two layers, if than happens you have to beat it again and then reboil it)
How to cook the pasta
When the yogurt comes to a boil, start adding the pasta one by one while stirring gently
Once you have added all the pasta leave it to cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally
You will notice that when the pasta is cooked through it will float to the surface.
Pour into serving plate and decorate with chopped mint and some fried almonds
Thank you Steph for a wonderful challenge, and if you want to check out other pasta creations by my fellow daring cooks please visit www.thedaringkitchen.com and prepare to be amazed