Basil pasta and basil pesto

Basil is the perfect partner for pasta and Michael Caines uses it both for flavouring homemade tagliatelle and the sauce he tosses it in
By Michael Caines
Basil pasta and basil pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 55 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 500 g basil, leaves
  • 250 g Italian '00' flour, or plain flour
  • 20 g basil, oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks

For the pesto

  • 350 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g basil, leaves and stalks
  • 100 g pine nuts
  • 20 g garlic, roughly chopped
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan

For the garnish

  • grated parmesan
  • basil, flowers

Tips and Suggestions

You can store any leftover pesto in jars, ready for when you next fancy pesto pasta.

Depending on the type of basil, the flowers are either bright white, pale pink, or lavender. The flavour is milder, but similar, to the leaves of the same plant.

Other edible herb flowers include chamomile and dill.

You can find basl oil at supermarkets such as Waitrose.

Method

1. First, make a basil purée. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a light boil, tip in the basil leaves and cook for a few seconds just until soft and tender. Strain and refresh the leaves in a bowl of ice cold water. Drain the basil from the water, then transfer to a blender and blend to a fine, smooth purée. Pass through a fine sieve. Adjust the texture so it is the consistency of pesto by adding a little water, then season with salt and pepper.

2. Sieve the flour with ¾ tsp salt and place into a food processor. Add 20g of the basil purée, the basil oil, egg and egg yolks. Turn the machine on and blitz until a firm consistency is achieved, just like play doh. Remove from the processor, transfer to a clean surface and bring together by hand, kneading until the dough comes together completely and is very smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Roll out the pasta using a pasta machine. Cut the rectangular pasta sheets widthways to make tagliatelle ribbons.

4. For the pesto: place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking together, until tender or al dente. Drain the pasta and tip it into a large frying pan. Heat some of the pesto (the quantity used is up to you) with a little oil in a heavy based sasaucepan, then spoon the cooked pasta into the same pan. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with basil oil and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan. Finish with basil flowers.

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