One of my kitchen jobs when working in Siete was rolling garganelli, which I greatly enjoyed and have continued making at home.
A game changing discovery for me is that you can freeze fresh pasta. Dust it with flour or semolina so it doesn’t stick, then place in a Ziploc bag in the freezer and it will keep for up to a month. I know that using a food processor is not exactly traditional but it’s cleaner and faster so that’s what I do.
I saw Rachel Allen making a sauce like this on TV a long time ago and it has become my go-to pasta recipe. I like to add either kale or spinach for something green. You can use tinned tomatoes, as I often do, but if you have fresh I think they bring a cleaner, lighter flavour.
This recipe calls for one of my favourite kitchen tools, a spider, perfect for fishing out pasta without needing to drain in the sink. If you don’t have one you can use a large slotted spoon, or just boil multiple pots of water.
300g 00 flour
3 stalks basil – leaves picked and stems finely chopped, separated
3 tbsp olive oil
pinch dried chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
500g cherry tomatoes or 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
3 inch piece of chorizo, chopped
cavolo nero or spinach – 2 good handfuls, destalked and sliced into ribbons
Parmesan cheese to serve
Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running add the eggs, one at a time until a dough is formed. Tip out onto a clean counter top and knead -without adding any flour- for about five minutes until smooth and springy. Cover with cling film and leave to relax for at least 30 minutes, or you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll out to the thinnest setting on your pasta maker. Cut into squares of 1.5 x 1.5 inches. Using the end of a chopstick roll the squares onto themselves making sure to seal the seams. Dust lightly with flour or semolina so they don’t stick together, and either cook right away or freeze to use later.
Sauce. Bring a large pot of water to the boil but don’t salt it. Use it first to skin the tomatoes, then once salted for the pasta, and finally the cavolo nero. Skin the tomatoes by slicing a small ‘x’ into the base, drop them into the boiling water for a few seconds and fish out with a spider. Peel the skin off with a paring knife, chop roughly and set aside. Note : sometimes I skip this part and the skins add a nice textural element, plus hello, fiber.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and basil stems, fry until fragrant but don’t let the garlic take on any colour, then add the chorizo and fry until the colour starts to weep into the oil. Add the tomatoes and leave to simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. You want the tomatoes to lose some of their liquid and the flavour to concentrate.
Cook the pasta until it is very al dente, then remove with a spider and put directly into the saucepan. I usually give them just 2 minutes in the water, but it will be longer if you use shop bought pasta. Add a ladle of cooking water and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce. Finally, briefly blanch the cavolo nero in the same pot of water and add to the pasta along with the cream. Chiffonade the basil and stir through right before serving, with lots of freshly grated Parmesan.