Homemade Thyme + Basil Infused Vegan Linguini

I think it is pretty much an agreed upon fact that pasta is comfort food. It comes in so many different forms but it is always like this little bundle of coziness in your tummy. I used to have this theory when I was a kid (just warning you now it is strange) that my belly was shaped like an ostridge that was divided up into hundreds of tiny little compartments for each type of food. So there was a broccoli compartment (my fave), and a chocolate compartment, and a pasta compartment, and a cheese compartment, and a potato compartment, and a mini wheats compartment... You get the idea. Basically, it was like this big town full of all the food I ate and it was shaped like an ostridge. I used to play make-believe games about all the food hangin' around down there and talking and comparing notes on what it was like to be eaten. Somehow in my little kid mind all of these foods were animate and talked and retained their post-chewed up form. Of course, I did know (at least somewhat) what happened to food after you ate it, but this was way more fun. I remember playing with pieces of my broccoli and wondering if they felt sad because they weren't all eaten together. I decided it would be okay in the end because they would be reunited inside the ostridge town. So yes, it was a weird way to think about food, and I probably thought about it this way longer than I care to admit, but I will never forget how much fun that little ostridge in my belly was.

Okay, pasta. You are probably thoroughly weirded out about what is happening inside my belly, but at least right now I can promise it is full of this delicious homemade linguini. If you have never tasted homemade pasta it is definitely worth making. The taste and texture is pretty different from the dried, store-bought variety, and after trying this it is hard to go back. The best part is that it doesn't actually take that long. I know that the thought of making pasta by hand and cutting your own noodles can be daunting, but it is so worth it. I am a pretty impulsive baker/food maker, and if I am sitting around doing nothing I usually end up elbow deep in some flour mixture. This recipe came out of one of those days. I was sitting around in the kitchen, alone at home and bored, and thought why not just give this a try! I spent a while looking around my neighborhood for a store that sold semolina flour and luckily found it close by. I have not tried this recipe without the semolina, but after doing some research it seems like a pretty necessary ingredient so I wouldn't recommend swapping it for a different flour. The addition of the thyme and basil creates this amazing spring aroma. I feel like my pasta should be sprouting little greens! It is really worth it to get those fresh herbs, it is just the perfect addition to a springtime meal. You could also mix it with pretty much any other fresh green thing, or a different flavour combo that is preferable to you!

Homemade Thyme + Basil Infused Vegan Linguini

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Mario Batali

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water
  • 20 sprigs of thyme
  • a generous handful of fresh basil

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Notes

Combine flours, thyme, and basil in a food processor and process on medium speed to combine. Add in water 1/4 cup at a time through top of processor while continuing to mix. After 3/4 cups of water check the dough. It should be sticky, but hold together in a ball. If it still seems crumbly and is not holding together add the last 1/4 cup of water.

Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball. Kneed the dough for an addition 3 - 5 minutes on a floured surface, and then set aside to rest for 10 minutes. This is a good time to clean up and prepare a large, flat surface on which to roll out the dough.

After 10 minutes divide the ball of dough in half and set one ball to the side. This is optional, but I found it easier to work with half the amount of dough rather than all at once. Roll out the ball of dough on a floured surface into a rectangle until it is as thin as you can make it. Mine was around a 1/4 inch thick. Next, roll up your rectangle of dough starting from the end closest to you. Try to make it a tight and even roll. If using immediately, place the rolled up dough on a wooden cutting board. If it is for later, wrap the roll of dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to a day. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough into thin discs and unravel (if you are confused about this refer to photos 5, 6, and 7). It is up to you how wide you want the noodles to be, the best way is to just cut a few different widths and use whichever you prefer. Place the cut noodles on a floured board or cookie sheet. Fill a large pot with water, salt, and bring to a boil. Noodles take between 6-7 minutes. Enjoy with your favourite sauce!