Herbed Fresh Pasta
MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: At least 1 hour, largely unattended
Fresh herbs are a must in this recipe; they create a pretty, green-tinged pasta that’s full of bright flavor.
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves, 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, or 1/4 cup minced fresh basil, chervil, or parsley leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
With a food processor: Combine the herb with the flour and salt in the container and pulse once or twice. Add the eggs all at once and turn the machine on. Process just until a ball begins to form, about 30 seconds. Add a few drops of water if the dough is dry and grainy; add a tablespoon of flour if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl. The amount of flour you need depends on the amount of herb you use and its moisture content; 1/4 cup of parsley, for example, will take considerably more flour than 1 teaspoon of rosemary.
By hand: Combine 11/2 cups of flour and the salt with the herbs on a counter or large board. Make a well in the middle. Into this well, break the eggs and yolks. Beat the eggs with a fork, slowly and gradually incorporating a little of the flour at a time. When it becomes too hard to stir with the fork, use your hands. When all the flour has been mixed in, knead the dough, pushing it against the board and folding it repeatedly until it is not at all sticky and quite stiff.
Sprinkle the dough with a little of the reserved flour and cover with plastic or a cloth; let it rest for about 30 minutes. (You can store the dough in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, until you’re ready to roll it out, for up to 24 hours.)
Follow Steps 2 through 6 in the Fresh Egg Pasta recipe for rolling, cutting, and cooking instructions.
Spinach Pasta. Lots of color in this pasta; the spinach flavor is subtle: Add 8 ounces fresh spinach or 4 ounces frozen and about 1/2 cup flour. Stem and wash the fresh spinach; steam it, then drain, squeeze (get as much water out as possible), and chop it very finely. Add the spinach with the eggs, making sure to break up any clumps of spinach.
Red Pasta. Again, the color is more pronounced than the flavor. Use pured red bell pepper or beets; the beets will color the pasta more vibrantly than the peppers: Add 1/2 cup well-drained pured cooked beets or pured cooked red bell pepper (see Essential Vegetable Pure), and about 1/2 cup flour. Add the pure with the eggs.
6 Ways to Flavor Pasta Dough
A few quick add-ins for a touch of extra flavor (and color). Serve the black pepper pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce; the saffron, herb, and mushroom are lovely with a rich, creamy sauce; the tomato and roasted garlic simply with extra virgin olive oil and lots of Parmesan or pecorino.
- Black pepper: Freshly grind about a tablespoon into the flour.
- Saffron: Steep a large pinch of crumbled threads in a couple tablespoons hot water; add along with the eggs or with the hot water. You may need to add more flour to compensate for the extra liquid.
- Mushroom powder: Grind dried mushrooms in a clean coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder and add to the flour; you want a tablespoon or two of powder. Porcini are excellent.
- Dried tomato powder: Use completely dried tomatoes (see Oven-Dried Tomatoes). Grind them in a clean coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder and add to the flour; you want a tablespoon or two of powder.
- Roasted garlic: Mash several cloves roasted garlic to a smooth paste; add along with the eggs or hot water, making sure to mix the garlic in very well. You may need to add more flour to compensate for the extra liquid.
- Whole or very roughly chopped herb leaves: This takes a bit more effort but looks spectacular. Roll out the dough to the thinnest setting, place whole stemmed herb leaves (parsley, chervil, tarragon, or small basil or sage leaves work best) randomly on one sheet of pasta, sprinkle with a tiny bit of water, and put another sheet of pasta on top; roll the sheets together (essentially pressing the leaves between the layers of dough).