Red Lentil Pasta with Chicken Pesto Sauce

It is fun to make your own pasta. It is also a bit hard work, so you gain respect for those who do this regularly. For instance italian older women will make pasta by hand everyday for their family, and large families as well. They might have been doing this since they were small girls until passing their nineties. I watch Pasta Grannies on youtube and admire all these ladies in all ages who make all these wonderful pasta. I urge you to look it up. https://www.youtube.com/user/pastagrannies/featured

This is a pasta high in protein and low in calories. It is also glutenfree if you don´t use the wheatflour to mix in. You could make it vegetarian or even vegan by omitting the chicken in the sauce and the cream and just use vegetables and almond milk.

Red Lentil Flour

Transfer the lentils to a food processor. Working in batches, process until the lentils resemble a fine powder. There will be some bigger chunks left behind, so make sure to sift through a sieve.

You need more than 100 g lentils to get 100 g flour! So you need to weigh the flour after processing the lentils.

To process the lentils can take some time. Don´t overheat your food processor. Take a break. And continue if necessary.  The flour you don´t use store in an airtight container.

Pasta dough

Ingredients:

  • 100 g Red Lentil Flour
  • 100 g Chickpea flower (you can even use wheat flour)
  • 1 Egg (2 if small)
  • 2 – 6 tbsp water (add one at a time and kneed so you don´t add too much)
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt – to taste. I used 1 tsp

Instructions:

Making the pasta

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add salt, oil and the egg into it. Mix the egg with a fork and start to slowly mix in the flour. When most of the egg is absorbed use the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the dough together with the palm of your hand. Press and fold, press and fold. Work it until the dough is binding together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough with some stretch in it! If you feel it is too hard and dry while you kneed you add a spoon of water at a time.

To knead and work the dough with your hands is essential to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.

There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to pull and stretch it again and again. It’s quite hard work.  When to stop is when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury.

Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges.

Roll your pasta:

Roll out the pasta using a rolling pin. You don´t need a machine. It’s quite difficult to get a big lump of dough rolled out in one piece and thin enough. For that you need a very long rolling pin to do the job properly. The way around this is to roll lots of small pieces of pasta rather than a few big ones. You’ll be rolling your pasta into a more circular shape than the long rectangular shapes you’ll get from a machine.

You’ll need to roll the pasta down to the thickness of a playing card.

Once you’ve rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think, so whatever recipe you’re doing, don’t leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it. You can lay over a damp clean tea towel which will stop it from drying.

To make butterfly pasta cut it in small squares and press the middle towards each other from each side. You will see the wings shaping up!

Cooking the pasta:

Fill a saucepan with water. Add salt. The water should be salt as seawater. Heat it to the boiling point. Turn the heat down a pit. Add the pasta to the boiling water one batch at the time. Don´t crowd the pan. Let it boil until the pasta float up to the surface and then a couple minutes. Make a taste test to find out how long you think is enough to get it al dente.

Chicken Pesto Sauce

  • 200 g chicken file
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A handful tomatoes

Instructions:

Cut the chicken in small pieces  and fry in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Set aside.

Sweat the onion and add the garlic and sweat a minute.

Add the tomatoes in halves and toss in the frying pan.

Add the chicken back in the frying pan.

Pesto:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 50 g basil
  • Lemon juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75 ml water
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • ½ dl Parmigiana – Reggiano
  • 50 g cashew nuts

Instructions for the pesto:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Combine the sauce ingredients:

Add the pesto sauce to the chicken and garlic in the frying pan and let it simmer on low heat while you cook the pasta. Add some of the pasta water or add cream or almond milk to the sauce to make it the thickness you want.

Serve:

To serve you can toss the pasta into the sauce in the pan or you can plate the pasta on the plate and add the sauce on top and decorate with some fresh parsley or basil. Sprinkle shredded parmigiana over.

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