The region of Puglia, or Apulia, which forms the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ is a beautiful area in the south of the country which boasts hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline. Whilst the southern parts of Italia don’t always receive the same attention as the northern regions, we love to turn our spotlight to this enchanting area and learn from the historic culinary traditions that originate here. One of our favourite varieties of pasta that is native to Puglia are known as foglie d'ulivo meaning, literally, olive leaves. These are delicate little pieces of fresh pasta, often dyed green with the addition of spinach, and are a particular specialty of our lovely sfoglina, Roberta. This type of pasta makes the perfect addition to a summer salad or can be served on its own with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Below we share Roberta’s foolproof guide to making these beautiful leaf-shaped pasta pieces, so you can give it a try yourself!
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 663 kcal
- 500g durum wheat semolina
- 150ml water
- 100g fresh spinach
- Olive oil, to serve
- Parmesan, to serve
- First of all, steam the fresh spinach and, when it has all reduced and wilted, purée it.
- Measure out your semolina flour and make it into a mound on a flat surface or wooden board, using your fingers to make a small well in the centre.
- Spoon your spinach purée into the well and pour in a generous splash of water. Use a fork to start incorporating the spinach and liquid into the semolina flour.
- Gradually add more water until a dough begins to form, using all of your flour but ensuring the dough does not become too moist or sticky.
- When the dough has formed a neat ball, begin to knead it with the heel of your hand, pushing it - with some force - across the surface or board.
- After 5 to 10 minutes of kneading, cut the dough into 4 evenly sized balls and put 3 of them to one side (cover them so they don’t dry out).
- With the 1 piece of dough that you have left, roll a long, thin, sausage shape (about 2cm thick) and cut this into much smaller pieces (between 1cm and 2cm in size) keeping them as even as you can.
- Then, using the palms of your hands, roll each small piece into a thin sausage shape.
- Now, take a blunt knife and gently push down on the middle of one of your pasta sausages and drag the dough so that it is spread thin and flat and resembles a leaf. Pinch each end to finish off the leaf shape (if they all look a little bit different that’s okay! No two leaves are ever the same).
- Repeat these steps until all of your dough has been turned into little olive leaves.
- Now, if you want to make a more elaborate sauce for your pasta, cover your leaves and set them to one side whilst you prepare your sauce or dressing.
- When you’re ready to serve the pasta, heat a large pan of salted water and add the pasta when it is boiling. Stir the pieces a little so they don’t stick together and cook for about 3 minutes so that it is just al dente.
- When the pasta is cooked, transfer it to the pan with your sauce or to a pan with gently heated olive oil. Toss until each leaf is sufficiently coated and then plate up and sprinkle with a little Parmesan to serve. Buon appetito!
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.
Want even more pasta perks? Join our Pasta Club for free delivery and 15% off each dish. Pasta Club members also gain access to exclusive gifts and perks, as well as early access to Pasta Evangelists events and classes. Learn more about our pasta club today.