Silk handkerchiefs with pesto, something I've always wanted to make but never did because making my own pasta seems like a lot of work. But it really isn't, once you get past the kneading. Passing the dough through the pasta machine is fun. I enjoy holding the smooth pasta that rolls out of the machine. I feel sort of triumphant now because I've only ever made pasta twice before in all these years. As you know, my son Wey is the pasta guy in the family while son Ming is the risotto guy so I don't bother with these two dishes.
But I have 12 egg yolks in my fridge from my pavlova experiments and I made a jar of pesto last week with my last bit of pecorino cheese (love it!) from Rome (and here). Pasta with pesto is a dish we often eat at home because there's always a jar of home-made pesto (there's always basil in my backyard) and Wey loves pesto. I thought pesto is the same with any pasta but I was wrong. Fazzoletti pesto is very delicious. I'm surprised. One handkerchief is a silky mouthful and I prefer fazzoletti pasta to trofie because trofie is too fine in the mouth. I don't like things that are too fine and give a 'loose' mouthfeel, such as quinoa and couscous. Rice is different. Long grain rice sticks together although not as much as short grain or glutinous rice. Dutch rice is bad, tastes totally 'loose' and impossible to pick up with chopsticks.
When cooking the fazzoletti pasta, it's best to put them into the boiling water piece by piece, not in a handful like I did. If you grabbed a handful, the hankies'll end up crumpled and looking like used hankies. Also, make sure your pot is big so that the hankies don't get squashed. I served the fazzoletti with thyme-flavored pork schnitzel, a green salad and a beautiful inexpensive Chenin blanc and we were blissfully contented.
This dish is best served immediately because the pasta is so thin it dries and hardens quickly.
Fazzoletti Di Seta Al Pesto
300 gm fine ordinary flour, sifted
2 medium eggs + 3 yolks (or 3 large eggs)
basil leaves & toasted pine nuts for garnish
1. Knead (machine or hand) until smooth. The dough will be very firm. If you find it hard to knead, you can add a spoonful of water or 1 teaspoon of olive oil like I did.
2. Cover and rest the dough for 1/2 to 1 hour.
3. Dust the work surface with some flour, break 1/4 of the dough and pass it throught a pasta machine using the largest setting and gradually proceed to the smaller settings. I ended with No. 5 on my machine but I think No. 6 is better, thinner. The pasta sheets should be thin or they'll not live up to their name. They also should be small or they'll be too much of a mouthful. Coaster size is good.
4. Boil a large pot of water, add salt (quite a bit) and drop the pasta in, making sure they are flat and not crumpled. They need just a couple of minutes; cook them until just el dente.
5. Pour away the water, leaving about 4 tablespoon (or reserve some in a bowl) and add about 5 tablespoons or more pesto, using more pasta water or EVOO to toss if necessary. Toss well, plate up and garnish with fresh basil and pine nuts. Serve hot/warm.