There are some things that are better when they’re homemade:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Maple Syrup
- Greeting Cards
- Pie Crust
That last item is important. Pasta. Most people don’t make their own pasta because you need a special machine to press it thin and cut it to the right width, and because store-bought pasta is cheap enough already.
If you do happen to have a pasta machine, homemade (or “fresh” pasta) is worth the time and effort. And with a list of ingredients so simple that you already have them all in your house right now, why not give it a try? All you need is 2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, and 1/2 tsp salt. And if you have a standing mixer, you can even skip (mostly) the hand-kneading step! Once rolled and cut, lay on towels or cloth napkins to dry for up to 24 hours. Then pasta can be stored in a dry place until you’re ready to eat!
This week we decided to harvest our giant basil plants and make fresh pesto to go with the fresh pasta. If you’ve never made pesto before, you’re in luck! It is delicious and very easy. Traditional Pesto Genovese has seven ingredients: garlic, basil leaves, salt, olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and a local sheep’s milk cheese called fiore sardo or pecorino sardo. Variations, as you no doubt have encountered, include cheese-less varieties, sun dried tomato pesto, and more.
Because the word “pesto” comes from the Italian verb pestare (pest-ah-ray), to crush or pound, anything can be made into pesto. Any herb from the garden can be crushed (or food processed, as the case may be) into pesto. Here are some exciting varieties from Saveur.com:
- Pistachio Pesto
- Walnut Pesto
- Parsley Pesto with Anchovies
- Pesto Calabrese
- Arugula Pesto
- Garlic Scape Pesto
- Pepita and Cilantro Pesto
There are guidelines to making pesto, but you are encouraged to change amounts to suit your taste. Rebecca likes extra salt. I like a little extra garlic. Also, since pine nuts are so expensive, I used toasted almond slices.
This recipe for Pesto Genovese is a solid one. I have always thought Pesto Genovese is one of those heavenly foods, and the combination of fresh, garden pesto with homemade pasta was fantastic!