Falling leaves, Zombies, Witches, Ghosts, Sexy… anythings… It’s definitely fall. Inspired by the season, we made pumpkin pasta with amaranth flour ($6.31 for a 24 oz. bag) from Bob’s Red Mill. The amaranth flour adds a delightful nutty flavor that compliments the pumpkin. It gave the noodles a hearty feeling without becoming heavy. We topped the noodles with a little olive oil, garlic-mint lamb sausage, sauteed fennel and wild arugula, for a satisfying seasonal meal. In the future we’d like to pair the pumpkin pasta (recipe below) with our chocolate pasta.
After enjoying the amaranth as much as we did, we grew curious and turned to the internet. It turns out the plant has a lovely flower, and foliage, coming from the Greek for “unfading.” It pops up all over in literature, from an Aesop’s Fable where it discusses fleeting beauty with a rose, to Milton’s Paradise Lost:
“Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o’er elysian flowers her amber stream:
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks.”
We feel that good food (and literature) deserves good wine as company, so we drank a lovely bottle of Furthermore 2008 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills. Their website sums it up pretty well “We are solely focused on making amazing pinot noir.” They succeed admirably. The wine is $40 a bottle, and unlike some we try, tasted completely worth the price point. This pinot epitomizes everything we like about California pinots. It’s distinct and smooth, with a fresh blackberry or currant nose. We tasted jasmine tea, vanilla and tobacco leaves. This is definitely a wine we’d like to drink again. (And again.)
Back on the topic of food, we also tried out several other products from Bob’s Red Mill, and were consistently impressed by the quality. They’re particularly known for their gluten-free and organic products, so if you’re one of the growing number of people who are avoiding gluten, you don’t have to say farewell to baked products. Miss bread? They have a great whole-grain gluton-free bread mix $5.59 for a 20-oz. bag. Other products celiac disease suffers will rejoice over include the gluton-free sorghum flour ($3.59 for 22 oz.), tritcale flour ($2.59 for 24 oz. bag), and all-purpose gluton-free flour. We also enjoyed the arrowroot starch ($6.19 for 20 oz. bag). Did you know that this South American root got the name because it used to be used for treating wounds from poisoned arrows? Just in case someone gets a little overly-zealous with their Halloween costuming, you should have some on hand.
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Amaranth Flour
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
a dash of cayanne
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
Equipment: Cuisinart (or other food processor) and Kitchen Aid with Pasta Attachment
Pulse together all ingredients in the Cuisinart (except for the extra flour) until mixture just begins to form a ball. Knead dough on a flat surface, adding extra flour as needed, until smooth and elastic (About eight minutes.). Divide dough into four pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap until ready to roll out.
Roll out dough:
Attach the kitchen aid pasta roller attachment. If this is your first time using it, make sure that the end square rests firmly in the groove- sometimes it takes a bit of twisting. Also remember to screw the nob into the groove point of the attachment each time- the falling pasta attachment is hazardous to toes. Set the smooth rollers on “1″ - the widest setting and turn on the Kitchen Aid to the 2-4 power setting range. Flatten one of the dough sections and send it through the rollers, catching it as it comes out. Set the rollers to “3″ and repeat. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough strip in half length-wise if it grows unwieldy. Set the rollers to “5″ and repeat a final time.
Attach Pasta cutting attachment (I prefer the wider one.). Feed flattened pieces through the roller, catching the lovely noodles as they come through. Drape them over a cookie tray covered in parchment paper or a clean, dry towel. Gently detach them for each other to prevent clumping.
Cook in boiling water for 4 min., or until done to taste.