I Tried the Spinach Pici Pasta from TikTok That Looks Just Like Green Beans
You never know what you’re going to get when you open TikTok. I was scrolling through the other day and happened upon an opening shot of a food video that honestly looked like someone was sautéing little, bright-green snakes. It was jarring, to say the least.
After watching the video in its entirety, I learned that those squiggly green things were not snakes (or green beans!), but actually homemade pasta chock-full of spinach! I don’t make fresh pasta too often because I don’t have the proper equipment and I have absolutely no qualms with dry pasta, but this pasta was too intriguing not to try. Here’s how my first spin at spinach pici pasta went.
How to Make Spinach Pici Pasta
While this homemade pasta doesn’t require any fancy pasta rollers or cutters, it does require a food processor or high-speed blender. To make the dough, add flour, salt, and spinach to the bowl of your food processor or blender (a kitchen scale is very helpful here, as the ingredients are listed in grams). Turn your machine on and let it do its thing until the mixture comes together into a bright-green, crumbly dough. Use your hands to finish bringing the dough together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and break off small pieces, rolling them into long, thin strands (that resemble a green bean). Once they’re all rolled, drop them into heavily salted boiling water and cook them for a few minutes until they pop up to the surface. Separately in a skillet, make a simple sauce with grated fresh garlic and melted butter. Transfer the cooked pasta and some pasta water into your garlic-butter sauce and fold it all together until the sauce is glossy and shiny. Enjoy it while it’s hot, of course.
Get the recipe: Spinach Pici Pasta
My Honest Review
I will admit that I probably enjoyed making and admiring this pasta more than I enjoyed eating it. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the pasta — I just thought that it wasn’t anything too earth-shattering or mind-blowingly delicious. Texturally, I found the noodles to be delightfully gummy, just like any fresh pasta. The process of bringing these stringy little noodles together was actually quite fun. My roommate walked into the kitchen while I was shaping the noodles and now she is fully convinced that I mess around with Play-Doh for a living.
Rolling them out by hand is certainly time-consuming, but if you’re wanting a crafty kitchen project, this is a fun option. Plus, pasta equipment can be expensive, so if you want to try out making fresh pasta but don’t want to outfit your kitchen with a ton of new gadgets, this would be a great place to start. I probably won’t make this again, but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good savory kitchen project or wants to dip their toes into making fresh pasta (or they just want to fool and frighten all of their followers by saying that they sautéed little green snakes).
My Tips for Making Spinach Pici Pasta
- Trust your food processor. When I first turned mine on and started to watch the ingredients mix together, I immediately thought that I measured something incorrectly. There’s no way this dry mixture is somehow going to turn into a cohesive dough. Well, I was wrong. A little bit of patience and a whole lot of trust showed me that by letting the machine do its thing, a dough eventually will form — once the spinach released all of its moisture, the dough came right together.
- Let the dough rest. Just like me at any social gathering, pasta dough needs to relax. Any flour dough is much easier to work with when you’ve allowed the gluten to rest. If you’re rolling out the dough and you notice that the strands keep contracting and won’t stay long and thin, you probably just need to let the dough sit for a little. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before trying to roll it out again.
- Jazz up the sauce. When I made this pasta, I obviously added an obscene amount of grated Parm because who eats garlicky, buttery pasta without cheese? There are a million ways that you could doctor this pasta up: Mix in some fresh pesto, enjoy them cacio e pepe-style, or maybe drizzle in a touch of cream. Amp up the noodles with some capers, olives, and anchovies for a puttanesca-style pasta. This pasta is basically asking to be served with some fresh mozzarella or burrata. Ultimately, the spinach noodles are very mild in flavor, so the sauce that you serve them with will likely determine the success of the recipe.