If the idea of making hand-rolled pasta is intimidating, then this recipe is for you. The trofie shape is forgiving and requires only a rolling pin, so it's ideal for novices. You'll want to seek out spelt flour. This ancient wheat grain holds its shape and texture like white flour but has a more interesting, nuttier taste.
Time: Leave yourself plenty of time to shape the pasta and, if you can, round up your friends and family. (Wine helps with this.) If you want to cut down on same-day prep, freeze the trofie in a single layer on the floured sheet tray. Once frozen, cover and store for up to two weeks in the freezer.
Shaping: Always cover the dough you aren't shaping with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Make sure you roll small, because the trofie will expand when cooked in boiling water. Getting the twist is a learned technique, and if it doesn't happen naturally, don't worry—you just made fresh pasta that will still taste great.
To learn more, read "Trofie Winner."
Spelt Trofie with Carrot-Top Pesto
Recipe adapted from Bruce Kalman, Union, Pasadena, CA
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, plus 30 minutes resting time
For the Pasta Dough:
2 cups (9 ounces) spelt flour
¾ cup water, plus more as needed
For the Carrot Stems and Leaves:
8 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon salt
1 bunch carrot stems with leaves attached, cleaned (4 ounces)
For the Carrot-Top Pesto:
½ cup toasted hazelnuts
1½ teaspoons roughly chopped garlic (1 clove)
1 cup roughly chopped blanched carrot leaves
1 cup packed basil
1 cup packed parsley
½ cup finely chopped blanched carrot stems
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Trofie Pasta:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups 1-inch carrot pieces (5 to 6 medium carrots)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
3 cups spelt trofie
¼ cup packed grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup basil
½ cup carrot-top pesto
2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts
1. Make the pasta dough: In a medium bowl, mound the spelt flour and create a well in the center. Pour the water into the well and use your hands to mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead to form a smooth, elastic dough ball, about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the carrot stems and leaves: Make a small ice bath. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil and season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the carrot stems with their leaves attached and blanch until they turn bright green and soften, about 2 minutes. Shock immediately in the ice bath for about 3 minutes, then dry and roughly chop the leaves, yielding about 1 cup. Finely chop the stems, yielding about ½ cup.
3. Make the pesto: In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts and garlic to a fine meal, about 20 seconds. Add the carrot leaves, basil, parsley and carrot stems, and pulse to chop, another 20 seconds. Add the white wine vinegar and Parmesan and, with the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream, stopping and scraping the sides as needed. Continue to pulse until the mixture is smooth, not chunky, yet not quite a purée. Season with salt and pepper, cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Makes about 1½ cups.
4. Roll the pasta dough: Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and dust it heavily with spelt flour. Using a rolling pin on a spelt-flour dusted surface, roll the pasta dough to a 1/16-inch thickness. Cut into ½-by-¼-inch pieces. Working one piece at a time, use the palm of your dominant hand and roll each piece on the flat kitchen surface forward and into the shape of a slightly twisted toothpick with pointed, tapered ends (see the video). Transfer to the floured sheet tray. Makes about 5 cups uncooked trofie.
5. Make the trofie pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a separate, 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until charred, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes, and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
6. Add the trofie to the boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the cooked trofie, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the trofie and 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the carrots, adding more water as needed. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the trofie is cooked through and the liquid has reduced to a sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and basil, taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a platter and top with the pesto and chopped hazelnuts. Serve.