I was inspired this week by Mark Bittman's recipe in the Minimalist column of the New York Times for pasta handkerchiefs, or fazzoletti. The description made pasta-making sound so easy - preparing it in the food processor, rolling it out, cutting it into squares. I've made pasta before using my parents' pasta maker, which was always labor intensive and never seemed to turn out particularly well for me. But this was a revelation. I made one batch as squares, just like Bittman shows you (watch his video, because you see how easy it is), and it was good but too thick. Then for another batch, I rolled the dough out even thinner and cut it into pappardelle, a little wider than fettucine.
The other revelation that has happened lately is that my 2 1/2 year old is suddenly very interested in helping me cook. She likes to get on her stool and help knead, stir, or whatever I'm doing. Keeping her away from hot things and knives, of course, is the challenge, but it's so exciting for me, since until now, whenever I cooked, she would only to my legs, whine and demand I do something else. (This is also accompanied by her new favorite iPhone distraction, watching cake decorating videos on YouTube. I don't quite know how we discovered them, but they are a hit).
I didn't use Bittman's accompanying pesto recipe. I had a pesto recipe I wanted to try, which I copied from a magazine in a doctor's office, though I can't remember its source. The pistachio pesto accompanying this super easy pasta is terrific - great for winter, when basil is harder to come by. And with the spinach, it's good for you too.
Pappardelle with Pistachio Pesto
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
Put flour and salt in food processor, pulse a few seconds to combine. Add eggs, turn on the food processor, and wait until dough comes together in a rough ball. Put on a floured surface and mold into a ball, but you don't have to knead it too much. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for later.
After thirty minutes, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Add flour as needed to keep from sticking. Cut into ribbons. Into a wide, large pot of boiling water, throw pasta and cook 2 minutes. Reserve a little pasta water as needed to supplement pesto if too thick. Serve immediately, topped with pesto and a little grated parmesan.
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cup packed spinach
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic
Throw everything into food processor. Blend until it forms a slightly chunky sauce. Serve over pasta.