Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homemade Pasta and Tomato Leek Sauce

My favorite dish to make when someone special is coming over! We got this recipe when in Italy, near Lake Como, during a private cooking class, and we have modified the sauce-part slightly to make the most light and satisfying dish... that happens to be vegetarian too!

For the pasta:
1 2-lb package of all-purpose flour
10 large eggs, close to room temperature
extra flour for dusting and rolling

For the sauce:
olive oil, up to 1/3 cup
1 group of leeks, chopped finely
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, both zested, and both juiced
Lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Line wax paper, if desired, over flat tabletop to be used for making dough (or can clean with vinegar). Pour flour in a circle, with a bare spot in the middle to crack eggs. This should function like a bowl, look like a volcano with flour heaped up on the sides. Crack all of the eggs into the middle of the flour and begin to break up yolks and whites with fingers. Mix all eggs with fingers, and bit by bit work in the edges of the flour to the eggs. The egg mixture should slowly get thicker and thicker as the flour is worked in.

Take care to bring flour in from all sides of the volcano without letting the egg mixture spill out of holes in the 'wall'. Once the mixture is thickened and about 1/3rd of the flour is left, take the sides of the flour volcano and fold all of the flour into the egg mixture at once. This part seems like flour has gone everywhere... but knead the dough and work in the flour from the sides.

If dough seems dry, this is the point where you can add room temperature water to the mixture to make it the right stickiness. There will be some remaining dough clumps on the table that you won't be able to work into the dough once it has achieved a certain consistency. Let dough rest with saran wrap over.

Cut dough into 4 pieces. Individually, take each portion of the dough and form into a ball. Put the ball onto the freshly-floured surface and take fingertips to push out into a plate-shape. Roll with rolling pin, turning and re-flouring as needed, until it is paper-thin and even.

Flour the top side of the flattened dough circle. Lightly pick up the top of the circle and fold dough in half (half moon shape), without pressing. Dust more flour on the top of the half circle of dough, and again pick up the top and fold the dough onto itself, without pressing. One more time dust flour on the top and fold the dough. Now it should resemble a napkin log folded longways several times.

Take a knife, and cut the dough into strips with desired width.... I like my dough strips about the width of my fingers, to make dough like pappardelle. Can also make fettucini or linguini.

Then, toss the strips of dough up in the air to separate the strands so they are no longer folded on top of themselves, making little nests of dough. There will be a lot of extra flour, but it won't matter and will dissolve in the water and will not cook on the noodles.

To cook noodles, drop in salted water and cook until desired, about 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your dough is! Will make a TON, so you may want to save about half for future use.... or I just made it all and enjoyed it for a group of 6 and great leftovers.

Saute leeks in olive oil with garlic. When soft, add tomatoes.

Zest both lemons into mixture. Add salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, squeeze juice from both lemons and add ~1/4 cup olive oil and salt & pepper.

After pasta cooks, drain and put back in pot and add leek mixture in with pasta. Toss, then add the lemon juice/olive oil mixture for some extra ummph!! Toss in LOTS of cheese for the best pasta ever!

*Let's be honest. We don't always have time for freshly made pasta,
nonetheless hand-mixed and hand-rolled. This dish would be soooooo easy if we
bought the noodles at the store, but at least get the fresher kind from the
refrigerated section!


  1. you didn't make the pasta Annie did you??? love the easy sauce!

  2. AnonymousJuly 26, 2010

    I always wanted to make homemade pasta!!!
    I think I'll have to give a try!
    Maybe when I find furnished apartments in Buenos Aires during holidays I'll do it with my husband!