About the pasta:
I've said this before, but making pasta at home is such a rewarding experience, and though it may seem intimidating at first, it's definitely much easier than it looks!
So over the weekend I always try to take my pasta machine for a spin and make a batch of fresh pasta - either to consume right away, or to stash in the freezer for a rainy day.
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.
Fresh pasta can usually be made either with eggs or without, and we follow some very basic rules:
For egg pasta, the rule is 100g of flour + 1 egg per 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 in my home.
For eggless pasta, the rule is 2:1 flour to water ratio, i.e. 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:
00 flour - a highly refined and very fine, white wheat flour, which makes for a very smooth texture
Durum wheat flour - fine semolina flour, much coarser and slightly yellow in colour. In Italian it is called semola rimacinata di grano duro, or simply semola rimacinata and will give your pasta a rougher texture, great for when you want your sauce to really cling on to the pasta
The choice between the two will give a slightly different result, but both will work great!
Durum wheat 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 is thinner and as such will give you a very smooth texture, which works great for cream-based or more delicate sauces,
Other recipes with homemade tagliatelle you may want to explore:
About the Ortolana sauce:
With the term ortolana we describe a dish that contains a variety of vegetables. Literally meaning "from the vegetable garden", the term can used to invariably refer to a pasta, a pizza, a risotto, or essentially anything that is loaded with veggies.
These Tagliatelle all' Ortolana are essentially a peasant dish that makes the most of seasonal produce and, as such, it is one of the most satisfying comfort foods.
For the tagliatelle:
Durum wheat flour - 200g
Water - 100g
Salt - 1/2 tsp
For the Ortolana Sauce:
2 tbsp evo oil
1 knob of butter
1 large banana shallot, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, whole
A splash of white wine (preferably dry) - this is optional, you can skip
1/2 glass of veggie stock
1 small carrot, cubed finely
A handful of garden peas (fresh or frozen)
100g of your favourite mushrooms, roughly chopped
Grated pecorino or parmigiano (or both)
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the tagliatelle:
Mix all ingredients and knead to a smooth dough. Rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 4 equal-sized balls, dust with flour and cover with a tea towel.
Take one piece of dough and knead with a rolling pin to 2mm thickness. Sprinkle more flour on top and roll the dough on its own. Cut into 1-2cm thick tagliatelle strips with a knife. Set aside on a floured surface. Repeat the same with the remaining dough.
Cook in salted boiling water for exactly 1 minute. Reserve 1/2 ladle of cooking water and add it to the sauce. Drain and stir in the sauce. Serve immediately.
To make the Ortolana sauce:
Heat up a heavy bottomed pan and add both the evo oil and butter on a medium to medium-low flame. When the butter melts, add the shallot and garlic, season with salt and pepper and let them brown.
Add a splash a wine, if using, and increase the flame to high for a few seconds to let the alcohol evaporate. Reduce the flame to medium again.
Add the cubed carrots and peas and the veggie stock and cook for 7-8 minutes until the veggies have softened. Then add the mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked tagliatelle directly to the pan with the veggies and mix well. Turn off the flame and add the grated pecorino, nutmeg, lemon zest, mix well and serve immediately.