This one’s a really simple one! While not exactly quick, it is easy, especially once you get comfortable with making fresh pasta…
We’ve given you a rough pesto recipe here, but you could leave it out, and just scatter some basil leaves over the finished dish.
The secret to making this especially tasty is a) to make nice, fresh pasta with good eggs, and b) to buy good tomatoes and roast them slowly.
For the fresh pasta
This is a basic recipe, but if you like it richer you can add more yolk than whole egg. Just adjust the volume of egg : amount of flour accordingly, to get the right consistency (soft but not sticky).
- 200g italian pasta flour (type ‘OO’)
- 2 large organic free range eggs
- dash of extra virgin olive oil
For the slow roast tomatoes
- best quality tomatoes – between 4 and 8, depending on the size
- a large clove of garlic
- some fresh thyme or dried oregano
- sea salt and fresh black pepper
- EV olive oil
For the pesto
Use the below rough guide or whatever your favourite recipe for pesto is.
- 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked (reserve a few leaves back for garnish)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
Make pasta dough – if you already know how to do this, knock up some pappardelle, then skip this:
- We recommend using a food processor for this for ease, though if your processor is huge you might want to do it by hand (if your doing the smallish quantity above).
- Processor method is basically: sieve flour in to processor bowl, add pinch salt and splash of oil, mix your eggs in bowl then tip in and pulse until well mixed (should form tiny balls). Then tip out on to work surface and push together to form ball of dough.
- Knead a little and cover with cling film and, ideally, rest for an hour (while you get your tomatoes and pesto done – see below).
- Roll out your pasta to the penultimate thickness on the machine, you can do this through any method you please but best results come from the folding and turning method.
- Cut resulting sheet in to sections of pasta length (25cm or so, usually) then cut these into wide strips – 4-5cm or so. You may need little flour or semolina to stop strips sticking to surface etc, but use only a very light dusting (otherwise you get gluey coating when cooked).
- Preheat oven to about 100 degrees C.
- Half your tomatoes (across the middle, not through the stalk end) and place cut side up on baking tray.
- Scatter with finely sliced garlic, thyme sprigs or a pinch dried oregano, salt, pepper, and then drizzle liberally with extra virgin oil (optional additions include few drops of good quality balsamic, few dried chilli flakes etc)
- Slow roast in oven for 1hr, or even a bit longer.
- Reserve a few basil leaves and then mash the rest with the other pesto ingredients as mentioned at above. We recommend using a pestle and mortar here (more authentic), but by all means use hand blender if you prefer.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta for about 2mins in large pot of boiling salted water, drain and toss with splash of extra virgin olive oil. Now divide between two bowls.
- Place the tomatoes on top of the pasta, and finish with large helping of pesto. Scatter over few reserved basil leaves and drizzle with touch more olive oil.
This may sound slightly complex, but it really isn’t.
Basically boils down to: make nice pasta, cut into pappardelle, slow roast tomatoes, make your favourite pesto, put all these together and eat!
N.B great variation on this might involve adding torn pieces of buffalo mozzarella to the plate at the end.