How to Make… Homemade Pasta with Pesto

How to Make… Homemade Pasta with Pesto

Making your own pasta isn't as hard as you think

Even the most devoted home chefs are intimidated by the thought of making their own pasta, but let that be a thing of the past. Here, our chef in Tuscany, Graziella Malgeri, shares her family recipe to prove that with a little kneading and a little rolling (plus a pasta machine), noodles from the box will be a thing of the past. What’s more, when your pasta is so scrumptious, a simple flavorful pesto is all you need to bring the “wow” factor to your dinner. 

Ingredients (serves 5):

For the pasta –
400g pasta flour
4 large eggs
Dash of salt
1 Tsp olive oil

For the pesto –
70g fresh basil leaves
69g pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
50g fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
250ml extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Extra Parmesan to serve

Method:

Tip the flour onto clean work surface, making a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, and add a drizzle of oil, and a pinch of salt. Gently fold the flower into the egg and oil mixture with your hands. You’ll notice the pasta appears crumbly, but it will smooth out when you begin kneading.

To knead the dough, push it away from you with the heel of your hand, and then roll it back towards you to fold it in half, and repeat. When the dough is smooth and elastic (this takes around 5 minutes), stop kneading. Form the dough into a ball, cover with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.

While the pasta dough is chilling, make the pesto. In a blender, lightly pulse the basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and seasoning, until mixed well but not pureed. Then slowly mix in the oil.

Take the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough and cut into several long sections. Sprinkle the sections with flour and roll through a pasta machine until the dough is thin and slightly translucent. Using your hands, roll up each section into a cylinder then cut into 1cm slices to form the tagliatelle.

Bring a pan of water to a boil over a high heat. Add salt and drop in the tagliatelle, stir and cover the pan. Boil for a couple of minutes and as soon as the pasta floats, drain in a colander. Tip into a bowl and then add the pesto, tossing well to coat the pasta evenly. Divide among dishes and top with more sauce and grated parmigiano cheese.

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Illustration: Louise Cunningham 
Colleen McNamara