Basil & Garlic Pasta Dough


Before John and I set out for our honeymoon, we received a piece of advice from uncle Paul and aunt Jackie that we’ll never forget. They laid out for us the two main ways one could embrace travel. One way was to blow all your money in a week on exuberant food and lodging for an admittedly fantastic and thrilling experience. But the other way was to trickle your money out slow, staying in humble hostels, feasting on baguettes and wine by a river or on the steps of an aged cathedral, soaking up every moment enthralled more with one another than with whatever money alone can secure. Wielding the latter piece of this advice to navigate our honeymoon like one would a map to explore a city, we set off to spend a whole month traveling through Europe.

Now on this trip of ours, we spent most our time carving through the wonderful city streets of Rome, Venice, and Florence. And when looking back on these sweet Italian memories, one thing in particular remains at the fore: the scrumptious, delectable, never-ending pasta. We enjoyed this classic meal so many times and in so many ways that we knew we had to get our hands on a pasta maker once we were back in the states.

And that brings me to this delicious herbed pasta. Basil and garlic lend a welcomed, delicate flavor while parmigiano-reggiano and olive oil impart a buttery, salty texture. And since making pasta with a hand-cranked machine takes long enough as it is, I started with a blender to whip up my dough. I used Vitamix’s new A3300 blender to tackle this task, and with it I had my dough ready in mere seconds. 

Now this beautiful machine is part of an exciting new series of blenders from Vitamix, and so I thought it would be splendid to host a giveaway so one of these could find their way into your home. In order to enter, just leave a comment below telling me what you would make with this blender if you won! Just remember that you must be 18 or over and a resident of the United States to enter. Good luck! Contest is now closed. Congrats to Kelli W.!! Thank you for all of the amazing entries!

I know making pasta at home can seem like an intimidating process at first, but I promise it's way easier than you think. I've included a few tips and links below to help you on your pasta-making journey.

Bon Appétit!

 

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Basil & Garlic Pasta Dough

Recipe adapted from The New York Times & Vitamix

Yields about 1 lb of pasta, serves about 4

2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

10 basil leaves (¼ oz), rinsed and dried 

2 cups all-purpose flour (240 g), plus some extra 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

AP flour or semolina, for dusting

I used this Cacio e Pepe recipe for my pasta

Equipment: Vitamix Blender Ascent 3300, Pasta Machine, Large pot


Method

Place the two eggs, two yolks, olive oil, garlic, and basil into the Vitamix container and secure the lid. Select Variable 1 (not 1+), turn the machine on, and slowly increase speed to the highest setting. Blend for 20 seconds.

Remove the lid and add the flour and the salt. Place the lid back on and select variable 3. Using the pulse button, pulse 5-6 times. The dough should start to come together. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides as necessary. 

Place the lid back on and pulse the dough an additional 5-6 times. Remove the lid and check the dough. If it seems wet and sticks to your finger when touched, sprinkle in a bit more flour, and pulse an additional 2-3 times. The dough should form a ball at this point, but it's also okay if a few pieces don't fully incorporated. 

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 4 minutes. If the dough feels sticky and clings to your hands, continue to sprinkle in some additional flour and continue kneading. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, tightly cover in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time (leaving the others wrapped), lightly dust the portion with flour and flatten into a disc with your hand. Next, feed the piece of dough through your pasta machine starting on the widest setting. Do this two times. Fold your dough into thirds and feed it through the pasta machine lengthwise. Do this two times as well.

Adjust the machine to the next setting and continue to roll out the pasta dough, 2 passes for each setting, all the way down to the last and narrowest setting. Once on this last setting, the pasta strip will likely become quite long, so go ahead and cut it in half—this will make it easier to handle.

Use the machine's fettuccini attachment to cut the pasta into strips. Dust with flour or semolina if using right away, and lay out onto a baking sheet. Alternatively, you can also dust the pasta and gently form into nests. If not using the pasta right away you can place it on a drying rack and let dry overnight.

Repeat this process for the 3 other pasta portions. If cooking right away, pasta will cook in heavily salted, boiling water in 2-3 minutes. Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy. 

Some Additional Pasta Tips

The most important thing to pay attention to when making pasta is to focus on the texture of the pasta dough. If the dough is too sticky you'll end up with one big mess in the end, so let the pasta dough tell you how much flour it needs and add accordingly. The goal is to have a ball of dough that isn't sticky, but is still slightly moist and pliable. Alternatively, if you find your dough to be to dry, add a tiny drop of water until the texture of the dough corrects. I found this article to be very helpful, it even suggested using a water spray bottle if you end up with dry dough, which I found to be genius! 

If you don’t have a pasta machine, check out Cooks Illustrated or Bon Appetit for tips on how to make pasta without one.