Pasta Handkerchiefs are the easiest form of homemade pasta to make. The dough is rolled out and cut into small squares to form handkerchiefs. There’s no pasta maker necessary. The handkerchiefs are boiled for a couple of minutes and then topped with some homemade pesto. Its pretty easy when it comes to pasta made from scratch!
This recipe has been adapted from the NYTimes recipe Fazzoletti (Pasta Handkerchiefs) with Chunky Pesto.
- 2 cups basil leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- Mince the basil, the basil and the pine nuts separately, and then combine along with the olive oil and Parmesan. Add a large pinch of salt.
- Alternatively, you can make the pesto in a food processor, starting by adding the basil, the salt, the garlic, and half of the olive oil. (HINT: if using a food processor add an ice cube along with the ingredients, otherwise the speed of the blade will burn the basil leaves and you’ll no longer have nice bright green looking pesto).
- Combine the flour and salt quickly in a bowl.
- Add the whole eggs and egg yolks and combine by hand until a ball begins to form. Add extra flour or water as needed if too dry or moist.
- Form into a round ball and continue to work until the dough becomes warm and elastic.
- Cover in a bowl with a cloth and set aside for about 30 minutes.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- In the meantime roll out the dough into a large thin sheet. The thinner the better, and as close to 1/8 inch as possible. It its too think the pasta will be gummy.
- Cut the pasta into large squares. Anywhere between 2 and 3 inches wide.
- Repeat with all remaining dough.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Usually the pasta will rise from the bottom of the pot to the top when done.
- Toss the pasta in the pesto and serve, or alternatively finish the pasta in a medium heat pan on the stove with the pesto for a minute or two.
This pasta does take some work, but the pesto can be made ahead of time, or you can even use a jar of pre-made sauce. Though homemade pesto always tastes better than store bought. This is quite a bit simpler than trying to make spaghetti or ravioli and imperfection in pasta handkerchiefs only adds character! You can also consider making a double batch of pesto and freezing half for more pasta later or to add to sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto!