Spinach & Egg Pasta With Hot-Smoked Salmon

April  6, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by Pasta Social Club
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Paglia e fieno, or “straw and hay” tagliatelle, is a happy tangle of green and yellow pasta you’ll find in northern-central Italy, particularly Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. The colorful ribbons are typically served with prosciutto, cream, and peas in the spring; and mushrooms in the fall. This pescatarian version swaps the salty pork for hot-smoked salmon—flakier than lox and its other cold-smoked cousins—and the cream for mascarpone and ricotta, which together melt into a silky sauce with the help of some pasta cooking water. The recipe makes more pasta than you’ll need, so freeze some for a rainy day, or keep it weeknight-friendly with a box of dried tagliatelle, fettuccine, or farfalle instead.

Depending on which brand and type of flour used, the volume measurements can vary greatly. Because of this, I recommend making this recipe using the weight measurements. If you have time before making the sauce, pop the ricotta in a food processor and pulse until smooth and airy. This will get rid of the graininess and make for a more velvety sauce. —Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club

What You'll Need
  • Pasta
  • 150 grams (5 ounces) fresh (baby or mature) spinach
  • 500 grams 00 pasta flour (3¼ to 4 cups plus 5 tablespoons; or 500 grams/about 4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour), divided, plus more for dusting
  • 150 grams (3 large) eggs, divided
  • 60 grams (3 to 4 large) egg yolks, divided
  • Semolina flour or cornmeal, for dusting (optional)
  • Sauce
  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 130 grams (1 cup) fresh or thawed green peas
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) mascarpone
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) whole milk ricotta, whipped until smooth in a food processor if you have time
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1/2 large lemon), plus more to taste
  • 170 grams (6 ounces) hot-smoked salmon, flaked into bite-sized pieces
  • 20 grams (about 1/4 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs like dill, chives, mint, or parsley, for serving
  1. Pasta
  2. Make the spinach purée: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Stir in the spinach and cook until bright green and tender, about 20 seconds. Drain immediately into a sieve or colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

    Transfer the spinach from the sieve or colander (no need to squeeze dry) to a small blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. If needed, add a splash more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it blends easily. For the pasta, measure out 75 grams (⅓ cup) of the purée (reserve the rest for another use). The leftover spinach purée can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.
  3. Make the egg pasta dough: Make the dough by hand according to the well method with 250 grams (1⅔ to 2 cups) of flour, 100 grams (2 large) eggs, and 42 grams (2 to 3) egg yolks. Alternatively, add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse together in short bursts until beads of dough (roughly the size of pearl couscous) start to form, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a work surface, combine it into a mass, and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and firm. If the dough feels very firm, add a small amount of water to your fingertips while kneading to soften it.

    Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or cover it with an upturned bowl and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If rolling out the dough by hand, let it rest for 1 hour.)

    Make the spinach pasta dough Make the dough by hand or in the food processor (as written above) with the remaining 250 grams (1⅔ to 2 cups) of flour, the 75 grams (⅓ cup) of spinach purée, 50 grams (1 large) egg, and 18 grams (about 1 large) egg yolk. If the dough feels very soft, add some more flour to firm it up. Wrap it in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If rolling out the dough by hand, let it rest for 1 hour.)
  4. Make the pasta: Line a sheet pan with semolina flour, cornmeal, or a clean dish cloth and keep it nearby. Cut off half of the spinach dough and rewrap the rest.

    If you have a pasta machine: Flatten the piece of dough with the heel of your hand until it’s about ¼-inch-thick. Set your pasta machine to its widest setting and roll the dough through once (it will be tapered at the ends). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold both ends into the center like an envelope, so the width of the dough is similar in width to the pasta roller (about 6 inches). Flatten the dough again, then roll it (with the folded edges on the side) through the widest setting once more—aligning the widths—so the result is a mostly even rectangle.

    Continue rolling the pasta through the machine once on each progressive setting until you have a thin sheet (setting 7 using a Marcato Atlas 150 manual roller or twice through setting 6 using the KitchenAid attachment), cutting into halves or thirds at the last stage. If the dough is at all sticky as it goes through the machine, or if the surface starts to tear, dust both sides with a little flour.

    If your pasta machine has a fettuccine cutter attachment, hold one of the pasta sheets near-perpendicular to the cutter, aligning one edge of the pasta with one edge of the machine. Slowly feed the sheet through the cutter and catch the strands as they pass through on the other side. Gently shake out the strands, then lay them across the prepared sheet pan, spreading them out a little. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.

    If you’re rolling by hand: Roll half of one of the doughs with a rolling pin into as thin an oval or rectangle as you can—it’s a workout! While you’re aiming for about a millimeter thick, don’t stress and just do the best you can.

    Lay the sheet across a wooden cutting board or work surface if you have one; if using a countertop, dust the bottom of the dough with a little flour. Trim any uneven ends from the pasta sheet—the scraps can be cut into smaller pieces, frozen, and saved for soups—and cut it in half crosswise. Repeat the process with the egg dough. If needed, trim the spinach pasta sheets so they’re roughly the same length as the egg sheets.

    Let the pasta dry for 10 minutes per side, or until the surface feels leathery but still pliable and doesn’t stick to your hands, work surface, or itself when folded over and pressed. In the meantime, roll out the rest of the dough, both yellow and green, and let those sheets dry, too.

    To cut the pasta by hand, dust both sides of one egg pasta sheet and one spinach pasta sheet with a small amount of flour. Layer them on top of each other and, starting at one of the shorter ends, roll them up together like a loose, flat carpet (not a tight tube). Use a sharp knife to cut ¼-inch-wide strips across the dough.

    Gently shake out the strands, then lay them across the prepared sheet pan, spreading them out a little. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.

    To store the pasta for future use, sprinkle the cut strands with some semolina flour or cornmeal if you have it. Then gather the ends of about 15 strands in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Using the other hand, loosely wrap the strands around your non-dominant hand as many times as you can. Position your hand with the pasta on your sheet pan and let go—the ribbons should release into a small nest. Freeze the nests uncovered until solid, about 20 minutes, then carefully transfer to a freezer bag and return to the freezer for up to 3 months. Cook straight from frozen.
  1. Sauce
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season it generously with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the peas, season with salt and pepper, and cook until vibrant and tender, but not fully cooked through, about 2 minutes for frozen peas and a bit longer for fresh. Turn off the heat. Stir in the mascarpone and ricotta until smooth. Season to taste.
  4. Drop ¾ of the pasta into the boiling water (freeze the rest for a rainy day, per the instructions above) and stir gently for a moment to prevent sticking. Cook until tender or to your liking, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. While the pasta cooks, return the sauce to medium-low heat and stir in a scant ¼ cup pasta cooking water, or enough to loosen the mixture into a thick sauce that coats the pasta. Add the salmon and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Using tongs, transfer the pasta directly to the sauce (if you need to drain the pasta, reserve another 1 cup of cooking water) and toss to combine. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss again until the pasta is well-coated, adding splashes of cooking water to loosen as needed.
  7. Divide the pasta among bowls. Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and lots of black pepper on top.

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Meryl Feinstein is a chef and pastaia who left the corporate world for the food industry in 2018. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, Meryl got her start at the renowned New York establishments Lilia and Misi, where she was part of the pasta production team. During that time, Meryl founded Pasta Social Club, a platform that brings people together over a shared love of food, learning, and making connections both on- and offline. She now lives in Austin, where she hosts virtual pasta-making workshops and develops recipes. Her dishes draw on her travels in Italy, ongoing research into the rich history of traditional pasta-making, and her Jewish heritage.

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