Spinach & Dill Farfalline with Whipped Goat Cheese
Recipe and photos by Sarah Ubertaccio
One of the things I hate about buying herbs from the supermarket is that you often end up with more than you actually need. No matter how hard I try to preserve my fresh bunches of cilantro, parsley, and dill in the refrigerator (I keep them in a small glass with a little bit of water, much like a flower bouquet) they still manage to wilt before I can use all of them. In an effort to waste less, I’ve been trying to get more creative in the kitchen as far as herbs go – making them the star of a dish rather than sprinkling them on as an afterthought garnish.
This brings me to these spinach and dill farfalline. Dill is one of those herbs I find I rarely use. Parsley, cilantro, rosemary – these tend to find their way into my home more often than dill. But the more I cook with the feathery little leaves, the more I appreciate their bright, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor.
So when tasked with this month’s pasta recipe, I’d thought I’d try to incorporate some of the dill I had lying around in my fridge into my pasta. I was also inspired by Pasta Social Club’s basil semolina pasta. Meryl uses a blanched basil puree to color the pasta green and give it a bright flavor – it’s genius!
Here, I felt that the dill might be too strong if used on its own and wouldn’t provide enough color to the dough since it’s not a super leafy herb. To remedy this, I’ve mixed the dill with fresh spinach, blanching both before pureeing them together and mixing it all into the pasta dough.
Farfalline are smaller versions of farfalle – the frilly “butterfly” or bowtie pasta. While these aren’t quite as small as the farfalline Italians sometimes used in soups, they are smaller than the standard farfalle. Something about the smaller bites feels delicate and lovely to me, but you could make them bigger if you’d like.
For the sauce, I’ve kept things simple. Infused butter with two classic dill pairings: garlic and lemon. The whipped goat cheese spread across the bottom of the plate serves as a creamy accompaniment to the farfalline–think of it as a dip for your pasta!
Two things to note:
- Be careful not to let the butter sauce brown, or you’ll end up with brown butter (which is sweet and nutty) and burnt garlic (bitter). You simply want to melt the butter and infuse it with the garlic and lemon.
- While normally I’d advise transferring your cooked pasta directly from the boiling water to the sauce, here I feel it’s better to drain it and let it cool slightly first. This is because you don’t want the pasta to be too hot when plating it onto the whipped goat cheese, or the cheese will lose its structure. This is the kind of pasta that should be served at a mild temperature, which really allows all the flavors to come through.
Spinach & Dill Farfalline with Whipped Goat Cheese
Prep time: 40 Minutes, plus 30 minutes resting
Cook time: 5 Minutes
For the spinach & dill puree:
4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 ounce fresh dill, stems removed
For the sauce & whipped goat cheese:
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Zest from 1 lemon
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
fresh dill, for garnish
To make the spinach & dill puree:
Blanch spinach and dill in lightly salted boiling water until wilted and vibrant in color, about 20 seconds.
Drain immediately and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer the greens to a high-speed blender adding a little water until very smooth, loose puree emerges.
Measure our 75 grams of the puree and set aside. The rest of the puree can be used as a sauce for pasta or mixed into soups.
To make the pasta:
Mix together flour, puree, and eggs until a shaggy dough starts to form. Knead until smooth, about 15 minutes. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and rest at room temp for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (Or you can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, just bring to room temp before rolling out.)
Uncover and divide dough into four quarters. Take one quarter of dough (you can wrap up the rest) and roll through a pasta machine until you have a thin sheet, about setting 6 on a Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Machine. You want the dough to be thin but still have some structure.
Pinch the top third of the dough together, then the bottom third. Finally, pinch to the two pinched thirds together in the middle to create an accordion fold. Pinch the folds tightly between your index finger and thumb to seal. Set aside on a parchment or tea towel-lined tray while you shape the remaining farfalle.
To make the sauce & assemble:
Using a hand mixer, whip together the softened goat cheese and heavy cream until smooth and creamy. Stir in ¼ of the lemon zest. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt it.
Once the water is boiling, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Turn heat on low, add minced garlic and lemon zest, and cook gently on low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Be careful not to let the butter brown. You simply want to melt it and infuse it with the garlic and lemon.
Add the farfalline to the boiling, salted water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through (you can taste one to test). Drain the pasta in a colander, and let it cool slightly about 1 minute. Add the farfalline to the pan with the lemon garlic butter sauce. Remove from heat and stir to coat.
To serve, spread a large tablespoon of whipped goat cheese on the bottom of each plate. Plate the farfalline on top of whipped goat cheese and top with a few sprigs of fresh dill and fresh lemon zest.