Pinched Pasta with Pepper and Chard

Pasta is easy.  Yes, it is!  You don’t need a pasta machine to make this pasta (although if you have one, go for it).  All you need is a pot, a bowl, a stovetop, and 6 basic ingredients.  And your fingers. If you have a food processor, you’ll have a lot less to do, but you can surely manage without.  This is a really fun dish to make at a potluck or similar gathering where you can employ lots of friendly hands.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 whole large egg and one yolk
1 Tbsp. olive oil (the good stuff, if you’ve got it)
1/2 lb. chard or spinach

De-vein the chard, if using. Parboil the greens: put greens in a pot of boiling water for about a minute until they are wilted, then remove. After they’ve cooled, squeeze dry and chop very fine with knife or food processor. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Make a well and fill with the eggs, oil, and greens; stir until everything is combined and can be kneaded into a cohesive ball. Leave the ball to sit for an hour, covered by a damp towel. It will be dry, but the greens will release moisture as the dough rests.

Flour a flat surface — a tabletop or cookie sheet will work fine. Pinch off quarter-sized pieces of the dough with your fingers, squish until flat, and deposit on the floured surface. Repeat repeat repeat. If this is tedious, roll out the dough as flat as you can get it and cut or tear into shape.

Bring water with olive oil and salt, or broth, if you’d like to make a soup, to a lightly rolling boil. Add your pasta bits and stir to keep them from sticking. Count three to four minutes, checking often to see if the noodles are done (it won’t take long) and serve (if soup) or drain (if not).

These are very nice served simply with butter and grated Parmesan. Though I bet they’d be good with a mushroom sauce, too.

Serves 2-4, depending

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