I recently started using more and more spelt flour. It wasn’t for any pointed dietary reason, but because a local grain farmer, Gold Forest Grains, has it and I thought it would be fun to experiment with.
Spelt is an ancient precursor to modern wheat. It arose through hybridization of the ancient emmer variety and a wild goat-grass. This hybridization happened upwards of 8000 years ago. There was also independent evidence of spelt’s existence across parts of Europe later on and is theorized to be an alternative hybrid of emmer and bread wheat. The biggest positive about spelt, besides its nutrient-rich nature, is its durability. It requires less fertilizer so it is perfect for organic farming. A great benefit on the overall flavour.
I wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs today, but didn’t want to go through the trouble of using my pasta extruder attachment on my Cuisinart mixer, so I rolled out pasta dough with my hand roller and cut it into linguine-like noodles. After tossing it in more spelt flour to keep the noodles separate, I placed the finished noodles on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and allowed the noodles to dry for at least an hour, to look like this:
As I simmered a sweet marinara spiked with a locally produced garlic jelly, I prepared some bison meatballs. I like to roast the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet to minimize the oil used (instead of pan frying) and the ease of it (I don’t have to stand over it as it fries).
Spelt Pasta with Roast Bison Meatballs and Sweet Garlic Marinara
For the Spelt Pasta:
3-1/2 cups Gold Forest Grains spelt flour
1 tsp salt
5 Sunshine Organic eggs
2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
water, as needed
In a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and oil. Whisk the eggs and oil together, then gradually bring in the dry ingredients. As the crumbly texture comes together into a dough, set out on to the counter and start to knead. If the mixture is still too dry after several minutes of kneading add a tablespoon or two of water. Knead for a further 7-10 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Using a table-top pasta roller (or a rolling pin), divide the dough into 8 smaller portions. Form each portion into a pressed rectangle. Dust with extra spelt flour and roll the dough through on the first setting. Fold dough in half, dust with a bit more spelt flour and roll again at the same setting. Turn to the second setting and repeat the rolling. Turn to the third, then fourth setting, dusting with flour and rolling at each setting. Most table-top rollers also have a pasta cutting attachment. (My roller has a cutting portion to cut into either angel hair style pasta or a linguine style.) Cut the rolled dough (about 1/8″ or 1/4cm thick) through the linguine cutter, dusted liberally with flour and placed on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Allow to dry slightly for at least an hour.
For the Sweet Garlic Marinara:
1 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
1 medium red onion
1 cup Riverbend Gardens carrots, chopped
1 Doef’s Greenhouse fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 large can whole San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups water
2 Tbsp August Organics dry oregano
2 Tbsp August Organics garlic jelly
2 tsp salt
In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots and chilli in oil until softened, but not browned (about 5-7 minutes). Add the tomato paste and stir, toasting the tomato paste for a few minutes to at a deeper red colour to it. Add the canned tomatoes, water and oregano. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Add the garlic jelly and salt and purée until smooth. Set aside.
For the Roast Bison Meatballs:
1 lb Medicine Man Bison ground bison
2 Tbsp August Organics garlic jelly
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Sunshine Organic large eggs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
In a medium bowl, combine the ground bison, garlic jelly, garlic powder, paprika and eggs. When it is smoothly combined, gradually work in the breadcrumbs to tighten the mixture. Scoop out 2 tbsp portions and form them into meatballs. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in a 220C/450F oven for 10 minutes.
Boil the pasta in plenty of salted, rolling boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer. Strain, toss with heated Sweet Garlic Marinara and Roast Bison Meatballs. Serve in a bowl with grated aged cheddar. Serves 4-6.