If you enjoy making fresh pasta and would like to inject some herbal magic into your creations, this recipe may interest you. Fresh herb leaves are blended through the pasta as it is repeatedly rolled in a pasta machine.
I heard about incorporating basil in this way from a colleague, who’d been to an Italian cooking workshop. I’ve made pasta with nettle juice before but find that quite a slow process so I thought I’d try it this way but incorporating some unusual foraged and pot grown herbs.
This method is very easy, it just takes a little more time than regular pasta making. I’ve no idea if this is how the Italian workshop prescribed it but this way certainly works and produces very herby pasta!
If you don’t know how to make pasta I recommend Jamie Oliver’s method. It’s very simple and works for me everytime:
A. Basically fork 4 eggs into 400g of tipo00 flour.
B. Do what you can with the fork then knead it thoroughly with your hands.
C. Wrap in clingfilm, or similar and refrigerate for 2 hours or so.
Whilst it settles in the fridge, get foraging! I used garlic mustard, basil, ground elder and parsley when I took these photos. Use what you have available. Curley Parsley was a challenge to incorporate but it eventually broke down well and tasted great. The other herbs broke down very quickly. Obviously, use herbs which are safe for you and your guests. Basil for instance is often avoided by pregnant women. A small quantity is unlikely to harm but be aware that even seemingly innocuous culinary herbs, can be very potent.
Now, how to incorporate the herbs…
1. As you progressively roll your pasta dough in the usual way, through a pasta machine, or by hand with a rolling pin, simply lay a few herb leaves down the middle of the pasta sheet.
2. Fold over the two sides to cover the herbs.
3. Continue running the dough through the increasingly narrow pasta machine. Each run through, will break down the herbs. Eventually tiny fragments will be distributed throughout the entire pasta sheet – it’s quite extraordinary to watch it happen!
4. Keep going until the pasta dough is as thin a you like and cut or process it as you wish.
I always make heaps of pasta (6 eggs, 600g flour), we then eat a hearty pasta meal and freeze the rest in portion sized containers, when still fresh and just dry enough to handle.