I have a dichotomous relationship with pasta.
One one hand, I’d like to have bowl of pasta every single day: noodles drenched in olive oil or Earth Balance or pesto, topped off with lemon and nuts.
On the other hand, I find pasta so arduously narcotic that I rarely allow myself to have it. Well, grain-based pastas, that is. I can handle the veggie noodles I make with my spiralizer. But the other kind of pasta, the traditional kind….forget it. Once a bowl is in front of me, I won’t stop eating until it’s totally demolished, past the point of stomach pain and straining waistbands. In short, I have little control when it comes to noodles, so I cook them only on scant intervals. We have them once a month at most, and on that day, I allow myself to savor them limitlessly.
Last month, my pasta of choice was fazzoletti. I’d been wanting to try my hand at noodle-making for some time. Since I don’t have a pasta machine, fazzoletti seemed to be a fine place to start. Fazzoletti is also known as napkin pasta – flat and squat as a hankie, not long enough to be lasagna but far too wide to be fettuccini or pappardelle.
It’s easy to make because you just roll it out as thin as you can get it (between parchment or plastic wrap) and the cut clunky swaths. No need to worry about cutting lovingly precise thin strips, or making sure you’ve rolled the dough out long enough.
The ingredients are simple: gluten-free flour, flax meal, water. The dough is malleable and easy to work with, unfussy, forgiving. An excellent beginner’s pasta.
The meatless beetballs are simple as well. My other veggie meatballs and veggie burgers are largely composed protein-stuffed chickpeas. These are almost completely veggie based: eggplant, beets, loving seasoning, and just enough oatmeal to hold it all together. The recipe makes an unbalanced beetball to noodle count. Luckily, the beetballs freeze very well, an can be nuked into a tasty veggie filled snack for later.
I made an easy sprinkle-on seasoning for the whole dish, just hemp seeds, lemon zest, and parsley. Oh. and garlic. So much garlic. Delicious. However, I realize that not everyone is so enamored of the stinky kiss stuff. You can skip the seasoning all together, and use just some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and nuts. Or just whatever pasta sauce you have on hand.
- 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour
- 3/4 cup flax meal
- 1/2 cup -3/4 cup water (after you add 1/2 cup, continue adding 1 tbsp at a time)
- pinch or two of salt
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 lbs)
- 3 beets (about 1 3/4 lbs)
- 1/2 cup chopped purple onion
- 1/4 tsp microplane grated garlic
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1.5 tsp microplane grated garlic
- salt to taste
- chopped fresh parsley
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- Combine the salt, flour, and flax meal.
- Add 1/2 cup of water. If the the flour is still dry (doesn't hold a ball when you squeeze it) continue adding water, 1 tbsp at a time (but no more than 4 more tbsp extra)
- Roll the dough out to 1/16th - 1/24th of an inch.
- With a pizza cutter, cut noodles that are 3 inches wide and 6-7 inches long.
- Let the noodles air dry for about 1/2 hour. If not cooking right away, cover with parchment or plastic wrap, so it's airtight
- When you're ready to cook them, boil the noodles for 4-5 min. Drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Do not put too many noodles in the pot at one time
- Cut the eggplant into 8ths, lengthwise. Salt the flesh and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Blot off the seeping salt and water. Microwave, lightly covered, for 4 minutes. Press out the excess water with a heavy dish or a flour sack cloth.
- Puree the eggplant, skin and all, with the beets, onion, garlic, oats, seasoned salt, salt, celery seed, and pepper.
- Shape the beet mix into balls, about a heaping tablespoon-full size, or up to two tablespoons worth.
- Bake the beetballs on a parchment-lined sheet at 450 for 20-22 minutes.
- Combine the hemp, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. It will be garlicky AF, fair warning.
- To serve, pile the noodles, beetballs, & seasoning on individual plates. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice as desired, or top with favortie pasta sauce instead