I think my neighbour knows me too well. Having chatted in the gym (and over a few evening glasses of wine…too healthy is boring right?) about recipes, blogs, trips to Italy and all the wonderful things surrounding food and photography, she really hit the jackpot with my 21st birthday present, it really suits me down to the ground! Plus regardless of the material things it’s really lovely to chat with someone with so many shared interests!
So I am now the very proud over of a proper pasta machine! Complete with spaghetti and wider tagliatelle cutting plates along with two fabulous cookery books. So many things are on my to-do list (should probably wait til after dissertation I guess!) from ravioli and lasagna to squid ink and herb-pressed creations, but I thought I would start simple with plain tagliatelle and a spring pesto to really highlight the fresh flavours.
For the fresh pasta:
- 200g 00-grade white flour
- 200g semolina
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the Greens and Almond Pesto:
- 2 frozen chunks of baby-leaf spinach
- 1 generous handful of torn spring greens (~150-200g)
- 10 almonds
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Lightly beat the eggs, combine with the flour and a pinch or two of salt, and knead for about 10 minutes to really work the gluten and get the dough warm.
This should produce a stiff, dense dough that becomes increasingly hard to knead. This should be left, wrapped loosely in clingfilm for around 30 minutes, out of direct sunlight to be ready for rolling. Meanwhile, prep your pasta rolling machine by lightly dusting with flour and attaching to a work surface. Alternatively flour a clean surface and rolling pin if rolling by hand.
Once rested, divide the dough into 3-4 fist sized chunks. Work the dough with floured hands into a oval shape, just narrower than the rollers, then pass through on the widest possible setting. Repeat this until setting 3 is reached. Fold the oval of dough inwards from both sides, into the centre to create a rectangle the same width as the rollers. Start passing the dough through again, rolling at each width section from 1 to about 7 of 10 of making tagliatelle.
Switch the handle for the tagliatelle cutter then carefully pass the dough through then lay the strands out on a clean work surface or hand on a pasta hanger (or any possible hanging place e.g. kitchen door handles).
The pasta is best cooked immediately in salted water and oil, but can be coiled into nests after about 20 mins of drying then stored in air-tight containers in the fridge for a few days.
For the pesto:
The ultimate tool is a strong blender. I tossed all of the ingredients into my smoothie blender and blended on full for about 2 minutes as the frozen spinach gave it a bit of a workout. If your blender is struggling with the bulkier ingredients, try adding a little more olive oil or some water.
I then stirred this through the freshly cooked pasta until warmed through and added some pre-grilled chicken and Mediterranean veggies!