fresh egg pasta with kale pesto
Hey guys, just a little warning early on. I love pasta. If I could, I would eat it every single day. It is such a versatile food, and guaranteed to make you feel cozy and comforted no matter what kind of sauce you throw on there. Also, you get to top it with a glorious showering of my other favourite food group. CHEESE. What could be more delicious?! I can let you in on a secret; the answer is FRESH pasta! I love the chewy bite you get with a mouthful of perfectly cooked, al dente pasta, and when it comes to that bite, nothing can beat a fresh egg pasta.
I used to be daunted by the idea of it, and all the knobs and screws of the pasta machine, but you don’t even need one of those to whip up a delicious bowl! Unlike other things like bread, you don’t have to wait for hours and hours for the dough to set up, only 30 minutes which is the perfect amount of time to throw a couple of fresh zingy flavours into the food processor and create a batch of greens-packed pesto.
Egg pasta also has a wonderful yellow-orange hue from the yolks, and let’s be honest, what sounds more fancy than telling guests you made the pasta yourself?! And all you need is a food processor, a rolling pin and a good sharp knife to make these silky smooth, golden ribbons.
Next up, sauce. I happened to be lucky enough to pick up a couple of bulbs of wet garlic from a local farm shop. Wet garlic is the young, mild version of garlic that hasn’t been hung and dried, and it lends a lovely, slight spring-time flavour to the pesto. Regular garlic will work fine too, just use a little less!
For me, pesto pasta is just one of those dishes that feels so homely and comforting. It makes a great cozy dish in the winter, but switching the pine nuts out for hazelnuts and adding some peppery fresh kale makes this the perfect dish for a sunny summer evening too. A glass of chilled dry white wine wouldn’t go amiss either…
This recipe makes more pesto than you will need, and leftovers are great spooned onto fried eggs, folded in with chopped avocado on toast, or as an appetiser with some crispy raw vegetable crudités dipped in.
I wouldn’t fault you for swirling it through a little ricotta or cream cheese and making a baked dip either… be sure to have some pita chips on hand!
- Serves: 2
- Cooking time: 45 minutes plus 30 minutes resting time
- for the pasta:
- 200g all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- for the pesto:
- handful deveined kale
- big bunch of basil
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 head of wet garlic, or 2 cloves of regular garlic
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup packed grated parmesan, plus more to serve
- To make the pasta dough, measure out the flour onto a clean work surface, making a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well and using a fork, begin to combine them with the flour. You could also throw it in the food processor and pulse it a couple of times if you don’t want to make a mess. Once the flour is all incorporated, knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about 6 or 7 minutes, until it is smooth and pliable. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest, out of the fridge, for 30 minutes.
- The pesto really is as simple as adding all the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor. blend to combine, then drizzle in the olive oil with the motor running until you have a fairly smooth consistency. Add more lemon/salt to taste if desired.
- Once the dough has rested, cut it into four pieces, and wrap 3 back in plastic wrap while you roll out the first piece. Here, you can either use a pasta maker or just a rolling pin like I did. If using a pasta maker, feed the dough through the machine starting at the lowest setting, but I like to stop one short of the final setting so the pasta is a little chewier.
- If using a rolling pin, simply roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until it reaches about 2mm thickness and you can see the light through it if you hold it up. Once you have rolled all 4 pieces into sheets, cut the pasta into desired width. I love thick ribbons of pappardelle, but if you prefer tagliatelle or linguine then just cut the ribbons slightly closer together, using a sharp, floured knife.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until al dente. Reserve some pasta water, then drain the pasta and mix with a few tablespoons of the pesto and a little pasta water to create a thick sauce.
- Top with more parmesan and serve!
Leftover pesto can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to a month, just be sure to cover the surface with olive oil to prevent it going mouldy. If you want to scale the pasta recipe up for more people, just use the ratio of 1 egg and 100g flour per person! Leftover, uncooked pasta can be frozen after it has been rolled and cut, then can be dropped straight from frozen into boiling water to cook.