Homemade Tagliatelle with Sage Pesto
About the Homemade Pasta
Making pasta at home is really easy and each time I do I always promise myself I'll do it more often! Over the weekend, I took my brand new pasta machine for a spin and made a batch of pumpkin tortelli for a friend who came for dinner.
Back home, when my mum makes tortelli or ravioli (hers are usually filled with ricotta), it's implied that she will also make tagliatelle - normally using the scraps of dough from the ravioli. She then cooks both, in 2 separate pots, and serves the ravioli on a bed of tagliatelle, topped with a rich tomato sauce. A bit excessive? If you ask me, no! They are both so good that it would be just cruel to ask anyone to choose.
So here’s my family's recipe for a basic egg pasta and a step-by-step guide through the entire process. This works well whether you are making tagliatelle, ravioli, or any other pasta shape.
For egg pasta, we follow a basic rule that is 100g of flour + 1 egg per every person. Some recipes increase the number of eggs, or just use egg yolks - you'll notice the pasta will be characterised by a deeper yellow colour. But this is just how we make it a home.
For eggless pasta instead, the rule is 2:1 flour to water ratio, that is for each person 100g of flour + 50g of water.
Another thing to note is the choice of flour - the most commonly used in Italy are either 00 flour (a highly refined and very fine, white flour), or semola di grano duro (fine semolina flour, much coarser and slightly yellow in colour).
The choice between the two will give a slightly different result, but both will work great.
Semola will give you a more rustic texture, so it goes well with richer, chunkier, tomatoey sauce where you want the sauce to coat the pasta really well.
00 flour, as said, is thinner and as such will give you a very smooth texture, which works great for cream-based or more delicate sauces,
About the Pesto
This sage pesto is possibly the most fragrant pesto there is. Sage has a pronounced herbal flavour and strong fragrance that is earthy, slightly peppery, with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon.
It gives this pesto such a distinctive flavour and, as such, I recommend using this pesto on plain pasta or on other ingredients that are more delicate, such as pumpkin (for example pumpkin tortelli) so as to not create too much of a clash.
If you like me love pesto beyond just classic basil pesto, here are some recipes I'd like you to try:
Ingredients (for 4)
For the Sage Pesto:
35g fresh sage
30g pine nuts
A small bunch fresh parsley
40g parmigiano cheese, grated
80ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Ravioli:
400g durum wheat flour (semola di grano duro)
1/2 tsp salt
Make the pesto by adding all ingredients minus the oil to a blender. Start blending while adding the oil slowly with the blender still on. Blend to the desired consistency. Set aside in a glass jar until ready to use. Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week if not using immediately.
Make the dough by mixing all ingredients to smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Divide into equal baseball-sized pieces and roll each into equal rectangles of about 1mm thickness, using either a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Then, using the tagliatelle attachment on your pasta machine, or simply a knife if rolling by hand, cut into tagliatelle and hang to dry on a pasta drying rack or on a well-floured surface, keeping the pasta as spread out as possible to avoid sticking.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the tagliatelle until they float on top. this should only take 1 minute or so, so keep an eye on it. Mix with the pesto, a ladle of reserved pasta water, stir, and serve immediately, topped with toasted breadcrumbs, if you like.