Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Lamb Kefta on Greek-Style Pasta

This is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spin on spaghetti and meatballs. Pasta is so versatile and really quite willing and able to play along with whatever theme you can dream up. I have made fresh pasta here, dried is perfectly fine but it is a treat to have the fresh once in a while.

Giada's recipe is my go-to pasta recipe. It comes together quickly in the food processor and never needs adjusting with flour or water. I make it with one third whole wheat flour, I do find a certain amount of unbleached white flour gives pasta strength and elasticity, but feel free to play around a bit. Any seasonings can be added - lemon zest, herbs, spices.. even food colourings if you are in that sort of mood.

Fresh Pasta, Giada De Laurentiis

3 cups all purpose flour (I used one cup whole wheat flour)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
(I added one tbsp dried dill)

Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor, in a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt and olive oil to the eggs and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture to the food processor with the flour and pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides once or twice. Continue, with the machine running, until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers and be cornmeal yellow in colour. Some of the dough will be clumping together, but it will not form a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough into a ball and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before rolling and shaping as desired.
It is good to have your mise-en-place (meez) ready before you begin. Have all your ingredients prepped and measured out. That way you can keep up with the busy pace of cooking, and if you forget an ingredient... it will be sitting out on the counter to remind you!

My Greek-Style Pasta with Kefta
In a large stainless steel bowl, add juice of one lemon, a good generous glug of olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Boil pasta in generously salted water, reserving water.
Toss with seasonings, add ladle of pasta water. Toss again. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Using tongs, serve in pasta bowls with toppings and kefta. Drizzle with a good extra-virgin olive oil.

Thinly sliced red onion
Baby tomatoes, halved
Fresh cilantro (or parsley)
Feta, crumbled
Kalamata olives
Kefta (see recipe below)
Kefta (or kofta, kefte, etc.) can be formed round like meatballs, flat like patties or long like sausage, often moulded onto skewers.

Lamb Kefta
1 lb ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp chili, chopped
1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Handful fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
fresh black pepper

Put everything except the ground lamb in the food processor and pulse until combined, a nice slurry. In a large bowl, mix seasoning slurry with ground lamb with your hands. Add a little bread crumbs if it seems too wet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Form balls or patties or whatever shape you like. Grill, fry or bake.
Mine were baked on a rack at 425F. How long they take depends on how big you shape them. Just open one up to check that it is cooked through. They can be made ahead of time.

Greek-Style Pasta with Kefta for Presto Pasta Nights this week hosted my pal Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.