Green pasta with fried spelt, feta and almonds

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

Many soft curds and cheeses would work well with the earthy spelt and pasta here; try goat's milk cottage cheese or buffalo milk ricotta.

  • 60 gm spelt, rinsed
  • 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 60 gm almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons, juice of 1
  • 200 gm Persian feta
  •  
  • Pasta dough
  • 150 gm spinach, trimmed
  • 250 gm (1 2/3 cup) plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
01   For pasta dough, blanch spinach in salted water until bright green (30 seconds), drain, refresh, squeeze out excess water and process in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Add flour and eggs, process to combine. Turn onto a work surface and knead until smooth (8-10 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest (1 hour).
02   Meanwhile, cook spelt in a small saucepan of simmering water over medium heat until tender (20-25 minutes), drain, spread on a tray to cool (30 minutes). Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add spelt, stir occasionally until golden and puffed (3-4 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, set aside.
03   Heat butter and remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming (1-2 minutes), add almonds and thyme and cook until butter is golden (1-2 minutes). Add garlic, stir to combine, add lemon rind and juice, stir to combine and set aside.
04   Halve dough, then, working with one piece at a time, feed through pasta machine rollers, starting at the widest setting. Lightly flour dough as you fold and feed it through, reducing settings notch by notch until you reach the narrowest setting. Cut into 2.5cm-wide strips and place on a lightly floured tray.
05   Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (2-3 minutes), drain (reserve 2 tbsp pasta water). Toss pasta and pasta water through butter mixture, scatter over feta and spelt, season to taste, toss to combine, serve hot.
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