Comfort food doesn’t get much easier than homemade pasta. It’s so much simpler (and quicker) than most people think. And you don’t need fancy equipment either. Although I have a pasta machine, which I bought for my hubby a few years ago as a gift, using an ordinary rolling pin works just as well.
I was recently lucky enough to receive quite a few large tubs of pesto from my favourite pesto brand, Pesto Princess, and I have been loving trying out different flavoured pasta doughs using this simple added extra. It gives such amazing flavour and colour to the dough, but also means you don’t need additional sauces to create great flavour. Homemade pasta is super convenient too as it lasts in the fridge for quite a few days and in the freezer for a couple of months, so meal prepping is super easy.
The other bonus about homemade pasta is that it only takes around 3 or 4 minutes to cook (depending on the shape and thickness you make). Great for a quick lunch or dinner if you’ve made some in advance.
Homemade Stuffed Basil Pesto & Ricotta Pasta
- 2 Cups 00 Farina or All-purpose Flour, and more for dusting
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1½ Tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Basil Pesto, divided
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
- 250 Grams Fresh Ricotta Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large bowl or on a clean and flat surface of your counter top, pile the flour and create a well in the middle of the flour. Add the salt, then add the eggs, olive oil and half the pesto (¼ cup) into the well you created in the middle of the flour. Very gently start whisking the wet ingredients into the flour with a fork and bring the edges of the flour over the top of the eggs
- Once the mixture starts to come together start folding the dough over onto itself. If the mixture is too tacky at this point sprinkle additional flour over the top and incorporate. If it very dry for some reason, add a teaspoon of water and work it in, then check again. Knead the dough for a few minutes. You want a smooth, firm ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest for 15 – 20 minutes
- While the pasta is resting, make the filling. Combine the ricotta, lemon zest and final ¼ cup of pesto in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork or spoon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the fridge until needed
- Cut your pasta dough into 4 even pieces. Working with one quarter of the dough, wrap the rest with plastic wrap to prevent it drying out. Sprinkle your pasta machine and pasta dough with a dusting of flour
- Flatten dough with your palm and roll out pasta starting at the widest setting on your pasta machine, mine is 1. Rolling the dough is a process, you need to make several passes, throughout each thickness setting for the best results. I start with the biggest setting, run it through once or twice there, then gradually adjust the settings to be thinner and thinner until I have the perfect sheet. Work your way up on the settings slowly, careful not to tear the dough. Between each pass, I fold the strip into thirds. This helps square up the edges and keeps things even. Work your way up to a thinner setting, I like mine at a 6 or 7 for. It's your preference on how thin or thick you want your dough
- If you do not have a pasta machine, just ignore the above step and roll the dough to your desired thickness on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be nice and thin, but not so thin that it tears. Still work in pieces to make it easier to cut into strips
- To fill the pasta, there are two approaches you could use:
- Option 1: Pre-cut circles with a 5cm round cookie cutter (or ravioli cutter if you have one), then using a small spoon or piping bag, add a small dollop (around ½ teaspoon amount) of filling to the centre of each circle. Then dampen the edges of each circle slightly with a wet finger and fold it over to form a half moon (Mezzeluna). Making sure to squeeze out any air around the filling when you seal the edges to prevent them popping or opening up in the water
- Option 2: Place the strips of pasta in front of you, then using a small spoon or piping bag, add a small dollop (around ½ teaspoon amount) of filling to in a row along the strip of pasta. Space these around 5cm apart. Using a 5cm round cookie cutter (or ravioli cutter if you have one), cut around each dollop of filling. Then dampen the edges of each circle slightly with a wet finger and fold it over to form a half moon (Mezzeluna). Making sure to squeeze out any air around the filling when you seal the edges to prevent them popping or opening up in the water
- Place the half moons (Mezzeluna) on a floured surface to prevent sticking and cover lightly while putting the water on to boil
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (I served mine with a dollop basil pesto mixed through and topped with some freshly chopped basil, finely grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts). Prepare to your preference though and enjoy!