Monday, November 30, 2009

Homemade noodles featuring fresh squash juice

Homemade noodles featuring fresh squash juice? Squash juice? What is this, Harry Potter all of a sudden? Do I have house elves working in my kitchen? Seriously? Squash juice? And isn't it pumpkin juice? But isn't pumpkin a squash? Wait, wait, wait... squash juice noodles... you can't be serious.

Wrong. I'm serious. Look!
Here's (some of) the squash juice, specifically butternut and golden acorn squash... looks like pumpkin juice:
Here's the resulting lump of pasta dough:
"Double-double toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble!" Here's the finished shaved noodles!
Nice and orangish, huh? Believe me... they were surprisingly good too. The squash flavors came through, sweet and a bit nutty with that nice, obvious taste that is only squash, but they weren't overpowering. They made a lovely accent to the chewy, doughy noodles.

Surprisingly enough, the "pumpkin juice" was stunningly good as well. It was a test of will to keep myself from drinking a glass of it, but that's probably because I used small, vibrant squash from my garden this summer that were amazingly sweet. Specifically, I got about two cups of juice from one small butternut squash and one full-sized golden acorn squash (interestingly enough, neither of which were planted intentionally -- they grew out of an old compost pile!).

To make this, you need some special equipment: a juicer (like the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer, e.g.). These are well worth the investment, considering the potential! Once obtained, it couldn't be easier... and if you get some small, sweet pumpkins, then you can entertain your Harry-Potter-crazy kids (or yourself...) by making yourself some authentic, super-healthy, fresh pumpkin juice sometimes (sweetened with some apples if needed with little extra effort or expense). You don't even have to peel the squash as long as you wash it really well first, though you certainly could. You probably do want to seed and gut it, though.

The rest of the recipe, which could use juices from essentially any veggies you wanted (carrots, beets, spinach, or parsley seem like other interesting pasta choices, as is potato and sweet potato, which I've tested), is simply to replace some, most, or all of the water in a recipe of homemade pasta with the juice you make. In this case, I replaced the entire cup of water for a three-cup pasta with the squash juice. In case you don't know how to make these noodles, see here for a recipe or read the summary of this recipe below! The noodles, incidentally, can be used as I typically use them, in Asian fare since that's how I learned about them, or in place of whatever usual noodles you put into a pasta dish. Click on the labels (to your right): noodles, pasta, and Asian for lots of ideas on how to use these noodles. I've read good things about doing lasagne this way and look forward to testing it out, probably with veggie noodles.

In case you want things to be specific, here's the actual recipe I used for these noodles:

  • 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted;
  • 1 cup of freshly made acorn and butternut squash juice;
  • A pinch of salt;
  • Elbow grease.
Add all of the ingredients except the grease in a bowl and combine until mixed. Once the mixture starts to become a dough, add elbow grease by kneading the dough until it is smooth and has a nice texture. Carefully with a very sharp knife shave the noodles from the ball of dough directly into boiling water, pulling and pinching the last few (or all of them if you get frustrated enough). Boil for about 3-5 minutes after the end of the shaving until the noodles are all done. Drain and use like pasta.

Oh... since I mentioned it above... if you get a juicer and get all excited and juice potatoes or sweet potatoes, for whatever purpose, don't drink it. It tastes pretty bad and seems to make me feel quite ill every time I try it. I don't think it's a good thing to do.

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