Making fresh pasta can be a time consuming process, but it’s well worth the effort and the more you make it, the faster you will get. A little elbow grease gives you flavourful pasta with more bite than the dried supermarket stuff. This recipe champions fresh and simple flavours, that resinate at the heart of Italian cooking. Throw it together for a tasty evening meal to be enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine.
For the pasta:
200g strong 00 white flour
(100g+1egg per person-my sauce recipe is for 2, but double or triple up if your serving more people)
For the sauce:
3 rashers streaky bacon
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried red chilli (or more if you like it hot!)
400g good quality chopped tinned tomatoes
handful fresh basil + extra for garnish
handful fresh parsley + extra for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
For the pasta:
– sift flour and top onto a clean surface, making a well in the centre
– crack the 2 eggs into the well, then break the yolks with your fingers and begin to work into the flour, drawing flour from the edges little by little-its a messy job, but have patience and it will all come together eventually!
– once the dough comes together, knead until soft, pliable and smooth
– wrap the dough tightly with cling film (if any air gets in, your pasta dough will form a crust) and put in the fridge for half an hour (or longer if you prefer to make the dough in advance)
– while the pasta chills, make the sauce. First, fry your bacon in a dry pan until cooked, then remove from pan, wipe our grease and fry again to crisp up the bacon
– remove bacon from pan, cut into pieces and set aside
– add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil to the bacon pan, and fry garlic and chilli until fragrant
– add tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 15 mins (after this stage you can turn off the heat and leave to one side until ready to boil your pasta)
– once the pasta has rested, you can roll it out. In the past I have done this with a rolling pin and a lot of elbow grease – I have now invested in a pasta machine and I can’t recommend this more. It makes like 1000 times easier!
(bring a large pan of water + 1 tsp salt to the boil, ready for the pasta)
– If rolling by hand, try to roll mostly in one direction, so that you achieve long strips of pasta. You will need to press firmly and roll until your pasta is about 2mm thick, then cut into cm wide strips with a sharp knife to make your pappardelle. If using a pasta machine, start with the thickest setting, then gradually reduce each time you put the pasta through the machine. Once you have the right thickness, roll the pasta through your pappardelle setting-you can also use a linguini or fettuccine setting
(if you have turned your sauce off, now is the time heat it back up)
– cook the pasta immediately on your pan of boiling water, stirring once after putting in to avoid sticking – the pasta should only take a couple of minutes to cook. You can check by taking a piece and cutting it-there should be no white in the centre if the pasta is cooked through
– while the pasta cooks, add fresh herbs and 1/2 of your Parmesan to your sauce, allowing the Parmesan to melt in and season the tomatoes, then season with black pepper and a little salt to taste
– drain pasta and toss with a little olive oil, then toss into your tomato sauce and divide between the plates
– garnish with more herbs and Parmesan, e buon apetito!