We get about half the amount of sunlight that is necessary to nourish our backyard garden, making it nearly impossible to grow much of anything back there. Fortunately, herbs seem to thrive and we've had quite the harvest of basil, oregano, and thyme. We've even had two lemon basil volunteers pop up and successfully produce. As the summer begins to fade, so, too, does the basil. In light of that fact, I made a couple batches of Lemon Basil Pesto. Because I ran out of cheese and nuts for more batches of pesto (I love the stuff!), I decided to spice up my normal homemade pasta by adding basil.
Homemade Basil Pasta
Special Equipment: Pasta Machine [Kitchen Aid also makes an amazing Pasta Roller Attachment]
This recipe yields 18 lasagna noodles and two servings of linguini noodles.
Add to a food processor:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pulse together until the ingredients just come together. The dough should be a bit crumbly rather than one cohesive ball. Remove from the food processor. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Cut the dough into four pieces using a serrated knife. [I find that the shape you choose to cut your dough will effect the length and width of your finished product. Cutting the dough into strips works well for longer noodles like angel hair and linguini whereas quartering the dough works well for lasagna noodles and when making ravioli.] Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
To roll out pasta, carefully follow the directions that come with your Pasta Machine. Remember to lightly sprinkle flour on the dough whenever it begins to go from tacky to sticky, as it will get stuck in your machine if you don't.
Pasta can be dried for later use or it can be boiled immediately for whatever delicious dish you're making for dinner! Unlike store-bought pastas that typically need 8-10 minutes to cook, the homemade stuff only needs a couple minutes in boiling water.
For those of you who choose to dry the pasta, lay out several clean kitchen towels. Place the pasta flat on the towels and let air dry for several hours. A note of caution: Dogs like pasta! The last time I made pasta, I left it to dry on the kitchen counter -- apparently close enough to the edge for our smart pup to pull the side of the towel off the counter, causing the pasta to fall on the floor and quickly disappear into her belly. When I walked back into the kitchen from whatever I was doing (clearly, not watching the dog), I noticed that the towel was cockeyed, the pasta was gone, and the dog was nowhere to be found. Funnily enough, I actually yelled for Jason and asked him if he'd eaten my noodles! Sydney never confessed, but when she innocently rolled over for a belly rub, her taut tummy gave her away.
Because the basil gives the noodles themselves a kick, I'd pair them with a milder sauce, such as a garlic butter or an alfredo.