Fresh Kale Pasta w/ Tahini Vinaigrette

The haze in Singapore that came from the burning of forest in Indonesia is finally gone - for the year that is. Nature destroyed, people got sick & economy affected. It's saddening how the Indonesian government are not doing enough to curb the problem, as the same situation arises every year. In this week recipe, I've created a healthy dish suitable for vegan (Lacto/Ovo) to cleanse the body from the pollution we've been breathing and the processed food we've been eating. Fresh Kale Pasta from scratch with roasted baby asparagus, shimeji & caramelized onion tossed with light tahini vinaigrette & pine nuts. I remember eating kale for the very first time in a restaurant, it had this distinct taste which is pretty close to wakame (Japanese Seaweed). Tahini made from pure toasted pulped sesame seeds combine with grain vinegar go very well together with the kale pasta in this recipe.

Who says you can't get enough nutrients from being a vegetarian? That is not true at all. Kale is known to be one of most nutritional vegetables on earth. To acheive an even more well balanced diet in this recipe, I added in pine nuts for the crunch & protein. I also have roasted asparagus and shimeji to go along with & lastly caramelized onions for the extra punch.

Ingredients - 4 Servings - 2 Hours

Fresh Kale Pasta

  • 350 g of all purpose flour
  • 3 tbs of olive oil
  • 100g kale
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp of salt

Tahini Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbs of tahini
  • 2 tbs of grain vinegar
  • 4 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tbs of soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of white pepper

Roasted Asparagus & Shimeji

  • 200 g of baby asparagus, cut into 4cm long
  • 160 g of shimeji
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dash of olive oil

Caramelized Onion

  • 1 red onion, cut into 1cm wide strips
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • pinch of salt

PREPARATIONS

Fresh Kale Pasta

  1. Start off by preparing the pasta. Sauteed the kale in a pan with a tbs of olive oil. After a minute or two when the kale wilt, transfer to a food processor and process it into coarse puree, set aside to cool. On a working surface, add in the flour and dig a well at the center. Crack the eggs right in the well with the yolk. Season with salt, add in olive oil & kale puree in the well. Then with a fork, gently beat the egg in the well to combine together. Begin folding the flour in from the sides of the well until it starts to lump together to form a dough.
  2. Knit it for a few minutes until dough becomes smooth. It should not stick to the surface. If it does, the dough is too wet, add more flour & continue kneading until it doesn't stick. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes before forming the shape of pasta. If you have a pasta machine, set the dough flattening knob to the widest setting. Dust & flatten the dough a little before putting it through the pasta machine. Then repeat the process by adjusting the knob down by one size at a time to the desired thickness (Ideal:1mm thick).
  3. If the flattened dough is too long, cut it into length of 35cm for easy handling. Then run the dough through the pasta machine for the desired shape. I'd recommend tagliatelle for this recipe as you get to taste more of the kale & have more bite to it. If you are not cooking the pasta right away, you can freeze the pasta in the freezer & pop it into a zip-bloc bag once it harden, or either way dust it with flour & hang it on a pasta rack till dried fully.
  4. If you do not have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into 1mm thickness. Cut into rectangles of 35cm length and 15cm wide. Roll from one end to the other as straight as possible. Then cut it into the desired shape equally in size.

Assembling

  1. In a pan, sauteed onions on low heat with olive oil & season with salt. The onions will turn brown & eventually caramelized after 15 minutes. Then spread the baby asparagus & shimeji evenly on a tray, add a few dash of olive oil over the vegetables, season with salt & pepper. Pop into a preheated 200C/400F oven for 8 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients together. Whisk it to prevent the oil separating from the tahini.
  2. Prepare a pot of boiling water over medium heat, add in 2tsp of salt to every liter of water. Add in the tagliatelle, gently stir to separate the pasta. Fresh pasta cook way faster than the commercial dried ones. I like mine al dente and I have it in the boiling water for less than a minute. Remove from the boiling water in a mixing bowl, add in the prepared ingredients, pine nuts & tahini vinaigrette to taste, then mix evenly. You can either serve this cold or serve this warm.

Living in a city can be quite taxing to one's health over the course of time. Not only the occasional haze from neighboring countries (if you live in Singapore), the pollution from vehicles, factories and so on also contribute to the quality of air we've been breathing in. So let's try to aim for a healthier lifestyle by exercising regularly & also by eating healthier food. The best way to have a healthy diet is to cook your own food because you know what goes in there. Aite, be sure to try this recipe out folks!

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