Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fake Orecchiette & Stuffed Zucchni flowers

A few days ago, I saw this post on twitter. I love making homemade pasta, so I started to do some research on how to make Orecchiette, which translates into little ears, however look more like little shells to me :)

I thought, "Super easy!!!" after watching a parade of nonnas on youtube making these little gems with ease. Alas, when it came to it, mine would just NOT turn out. I tried a few different shapes, and when I was just about to give up and make spaghetti instead, I thought of cutting them with a circle

cutter and pinching the sides.

I made the dough with aqua faba as I thought it would be better than just water. I am not really sure. The dough was fabulous, but having never made it with water it is hard to make a comparison. I will try just water next time.

I went to the market this morning and hubby requested zucchini flowers. I have never made them before, actually I have never eaten them before either!
But I bought them, and thought of stuffing them with something and chickpeas. So with this meal I used a whole can of chickpeas including the brine (aqua faba).

I hope it is not too confusing. Let me know if it is, and I will separate the recipes :)

1 425gm can of chickpeas
1 red onion
250 gms of sweet potato
300gms semolina (coarse)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 handfulls of green beans (Ends cut, and cut in half)
1 bunch of asparagus
1/2 a bunch of basil
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
10 zucchini flowers
3/4 cup of spelt flour
3/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of pine nuts
3 tablespoons vegan parmesan
5 shitake mushrooms
Olive oil for frying fritters


  1. Drain the chickpeas, and reserve the liquid(aqua faba). Set both aside.
  2. Place the semolina in a bowl, and add 135gms (9 tablespoons) of aqua faba.
  3. Knead to make a smooth dough. Wrap with glad wrap and set aside.
  4. Cut sweet potato into small cubes and boil until soft. 
  5. Cut the red onion in half. Cut half of it in slices, and set aside. Chop the other half finely, and place in a bowl with the sweet potato.
  6. Add 100gms of the reserved chickpeas to the sweet potato mix and mash all of it with a fork.
  7. Add thyme, oregano and one crushed clove of garlic. Add salt to taste. This will be the filling for the zucchini flowers.
  8. Gently remove the stamen from the middle of the zucchini flowers, then wash the zucchini making sure that the two don't come apart.
  9. Using your fingers, fill the zucchini flower with the sweet potato mix. Set aside.
  10. Cut the dough into six pieces. Work with one piece at a time, covering the rest while you work. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Cut with a round cutter. If you like you can press the dough on a gnocchi former to get some lines, then pinch one two sides to form a shell. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Leave the pasta on your bench to dry up whilst you finish with the zucchini flowers and the vegetables that go with the pasta.
  11. Heat a large frying pan, and add one tablespoon of oil. 
  12. Sautee onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
  13. Add, sliced mushrooms, green beans & asparagus.
  14. Chop basil and add to the frying pan. Season with a little salt, and set aside.
  15. Cook pasta for about 10 minutes in boiling salted water, drain and mix with the vegetables in the frying pan. 
  16. In the mean time, in a bowl, place the remaining AF. Whisk until frothy. Add garlic powder, salt, and flour. Add some of the water, until you get a batter thick enough to coat the zucchini flowers.
  17. Fry in hot olive oil, turning over once. Drain on kitchen paper.
  18. If you have any of the zucchini stuffing left over, add the reaming chickpeas, mix and form into balls. Dip into remaining batter and fry till golden.
  19. Re-heat pasta, add pine nuts & vegan parmesan and serve.

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