Sheffield chef shares her take on Hungarian pasta


Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 1:34 pm
Viktoria Garbett runs ‘Twiddlefood’ workshops for people of all ages and abilities, including children, where she teaches them how to make their own fresh pasta. She is pictured with daughters Mia and Annabelle and their nudli

Viki said: “I wanted to share a Hungarian recipe that is easy and fun to make with children. This dish, nudli, was my and my brother's favourite, we used to argue who would eat the last piece.

“The basic version only requires a few simple ingredients”.

Ingredients, serves about five:

Viki cooking

Nudli dough: 900 grams white potatoes (peeled approx 715grams); 450 grams all purpose flour; pinch of salt.

Sweet variation: (enough for half of the dough): 120 grams breadcrumbs; 1 tbsp unsalted butter; 4-5 tbsp sunflower oil; icing sugar (optional); poppyseed (optional); your favourite jam.

Savoury variation: (enough for the other half of the dough): 1 tbsp butter; 2 cloves of garlic (smoked if available); 2 big handfuls of fresh spinach; 90- 100 ml single cream; 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg; parmesan cheese or your favourite cheese; salt; pepper.

Cooking instructions:

1. Peel and chop the potatoes, then boil for approx. 12 minutes. Important not to overcook them as they will turn too mushy and the pasta will not keep its shape.

2. Mash with a fork. Important not to overdo this stage, you are not making a potato puree, just mash enough so that the flour could be absorbed but the dough to stay firm.

3. Mix in the flour gradually and add a pinch of salt. Knead the dough until it becomes silky and no longer sticks to the surface.

4. Prepare a couple of trays - sprinkle these with flour. You will need these to rest the pasta shapes on.

5. Pinch a piece off (around a 20p size) with your finger and roll to a thin finger shape. You can make small 1-2cm pieces. It is more enjoyable if you make these thin and small(ish).

6. Boil a large saucepan of water, add a pinch of salt to it. When the water is bubbling, you can add the nudli. You would cook it as you would cook other fresh pasta, i.e. you would need to cook this in batches to avoid them sticking together. The nudli will come to the surface once cooked, which only takes 2-3 mins usually.

7. Transfer to a clean large bowl.

8. Once you have cooked the pasta you can make the topping. I have split the dough in two and made half with the sweet breadcrumbs toppings and the other half with the spinach one. So if you are only planning to make one of the variations, you will need to double the ingredients up for the toppings.

Sweet variation:

1. Melt the butter and add the sunflower oil.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and brown on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Careful not to burn the breadcrumbs.

3. Toss the cooked pasta into the breadcrumbs, turn the heat down and fry for another two minutes.

4. Sprinkle with poppyseed, walnuts or almond if using.

5. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

6. Serve with your favourite jam.

Savoury variation:

1. Melt the butter, add the garlic and spinach. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is cooked.

2. Transfer into a blender or blitz with a handheld mixer.

3. Pour the blitzed spinach back into the saucepan and pour the single cream on. Turn the heat down and cook for another minute.

4. Add the nutmeg, pepper and salt.

5. Add the cooked nudli to the sauce, heat for a further 2 minutes.

6. Serve with grated parmesan or your favourite cheese.

How to make it healthier?

could replace some of the white potatoes with sweet potato (purple sweet potato gives it great colour)

could replace some (e.g. 100-150 grams) of the white flour with wholemeal flour

mix ground walnuts / almond / poppy seed with the breadcrumbs

It can be made healthier using sweet potatoes instead of white ones or just replacing one or two white potatoes with sweet potatoes. I once made this recipe with purple sweet potatoes and it was not just very tasty but healthy too. Purple sweet potatoes have many health benefits so definitely worth a try if you are able to get hold of them. (I buy them at The Moor Market from some of the Asian shops when in season in the autumn.)

I also like using walnuts or poppyseed with pasta, again for the healthy benefits.