Chef Ken and Verveine Oringer: Spinach Orecchiette Pasta

Clean Plate Club

Sep 12 2023 • 10 mins

Ken is a Boston-based chef and restaurateur. Verveine is his 14 year old daughter. This recipe is from their new cookbook, Cooking with My Dad, the Chef: 70+ kid-tested, kid-approved (and gluten-free!) recipes for young chefs!

Spinach Orecchiette

Serves 4


2 cups baby spinach

2 large eggs

¼ cup milk

2 cups Cup4Cup brand Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour, plus, some extra for shaping the pasta (you can also use regular all-purpose flour if you do not need to use gluten free)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


4 quarts water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Making the Orecchiette Dough:

1. Add spinach, eggs, and milk to blender jar. Place lid on top of blender and hold lid firmly in place with folded dish towel. Turn on blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Stop blender.

2. In large bowl, add flour and sprinkle it with ¼ teaspoon salt. Use your hands to make a ‘well’ in center of flour. Pour spinach mixture into well in bowl. Use fork to slowly stir to bring flour and spinach mixture together until dough starts to form.

3. Sprinkle clean counter with extra flour and transfer dough to counter. Use your hands to knead dough until smooth, about 1 minute, adding a little extra flour if dough feels too sticky. Form dough into smooth ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

How to Shape the Orecchiette:

1. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it lightly with extra flour. Cut, roll, and shape orecchiette following the instructions below. (Orecchiette can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

2. Lightly sprinkle extra flour on counter and sprinkle dough with flour. Use bench scraper to divide dough into 6 equal pieces.

3. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keeping remaining dough covered in plastic), roll dough into a ½-inch thick rope, about 16 inches long.

4. Dip bench scraper in extra flour. Cut dough crosswise (the short way) into ¼-inch pieces.

5. Dust your fingers with extra flour. Turn each piece cut side up and press your thumb into the dough to make it look like an ear. Use bench scraper to carefully transfer orecchiette to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet dusted with flour. Repeat rolling, cutting, and shaping with remaining 5 pieces of dough.

Finishing the Dish:

1. Add water to large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it is boiling, carefully add 2 tablespoons salt and then orecchiette to pot. Cook, stirring often with wooden spoon, until pasta is al dente (tender but still a bit chewy), 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat.

2. Add butter to large serving bowl. Use spider skimmer to transfer pasta to serving bowl (if you don't have a spider skimmer, ask an adult to drain the pasta in a colander in the sink).

3. Use wooden spoon to toss until butter melts. Add Parmesan and stir gently until pasta is well coated with butter and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

This episode is brought to you by Guidecraft. Makers of the original Kitchen Helper® Step Stool.


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