A while ago we were inspired by an Italian chef to start making our own pasta. That is: fresh, from scratch. It had always seemed like a lot of work, and difficult, however the taste of his freshly made pasta made us decide to give it a try. So we did, and we never looked back!
Not only was it fun to through the whole process of kneading the dough, leaving it to rest, rolling and cutting it into the linguine. To learn to master the skill (as don’t be under any illusion you’ll get it right, all the time, from the start), made a ‘simple’ pasta so much more of a fulfilling and rewarding dinner. A fresh pasta with a pesto makes for one of the best dinners. We find that fresh pastas also feel a lot lighter to digest, using quality ingredients. For our pastas we’re using the Eureka cake flower, which is stone ground, and free from additives and preservatives.
For this version, we went even further, inspired by this Crush! recipe. It’s not the type of meal that you quickly put together after a long day in the office, and with that bit of extra effort it makes for the most amazing weekend meal.
We had some roasted beetroot leftovers, and decided to use these instead of the salt baked beetroot that the original recipe calls for, and the sweet beets balanced the sourness of the pesto very nicely. The crispy chickpeas are a must, delicious, and they give such a nice bite to the meal. For the pesto, we’re using the 2ltr OmniBlend jug, which is narrow at the bottom, and ideal for smaller quantities like this pesto.
Ingredients (for 2-3 servings):
Peel the beetroot and place them on a tray, drizzling generously with olive oil, and adding salt & pepper to taste. Roast for about an hour at 190C, until sweet and tender. Increase the oven temperature to 210C.
Drain the chickpeas, but don’t rinse them. Drizzle with oil , and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread them well over the tray, giving them space to make sure all over crispiness. Roast until golden brown and crispy.
Now on to the pasta.... Mix the flour and eggs, and form a dough. Knead lightly for a few minutes, and then leave to rest wrapped in cling film, for at least 30 minutes.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to the boil, and add a good pinch of salt. While the water is heating up, you prepare the linguine.
Blanch the kale in a large pot of boiling salted water, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the rocket for the last minute. Drain the kale and rocket in a colander, and a leave for a few minutes. Shake and press lightly with a spoon to remove excess water.
Place the cooked kale and rocket into the OmniBlend with the garlic, red pepper flakes, and mustard. Puls to combine. Use a silicon spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary. ONLY use the spatula when you’re not blending, never during blending. During blending just use the tamper through the lid.Add the lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan and pulse again until you get a soft paste. Season to taste. To prevent if from oxidising, place the pesto in a bowl, and cover with a small layer of oil and wrap with cling film. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Set up the pasta machine, and divide the dough into 3 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining portions covered. Feed one piece through the machine, on the largest setting, and fold in half when the dough comes out the other end. Work your way down to the thinner settings, folding the pasta in half before each roll, to laminate and reinforce it. When it begins to get too long, trim to no longer than 30 cm. When the pasta has gone through the smallest setting, attach the linguine cutter to the pasta machine and feed the sheet through so that you end up with smaller strips.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, and gently cook for 1-2 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander, and return to the pot. Add a bit of olive oil if you’re not serving it straight away, to prevent stickiness. Add the pesto to the pot and mix with the pasta to cover it evenly. Divide the pasta over the pasta bowls, and add the beetroot and chickpeas. Finish it off with some rocket and freshly ground black pepper.