Jamie Oliver's Tagliatelle with Pesto

Jamie Oliver Making PastaThis is a great little machine - a good one to give as a gift to someone who fancies having a go at making their own fresh pasta. With a bit of practice, it’s easy and there are so many things you can make with a sheet of pasta, you’ll never get bored of doing it.

Tagliatelle with Pesto Pesto can be made in a food processor, but is best made in a pestle and mortar because pounding and bruising the basil leaves seems to extract more of the beautiful flavour. Serves 4

For the pesto sauce:

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked
  • 1 handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 good handful of Parmesan cheese,
  • freshly grated extra virgin olive oil
  • sea rock salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a small squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

PestoPut your garlic in a pestle and mortar or a food processor. If you like a strong garlic taste you can add bore but I stick to about 1 clove, which is still quite strong when raw. Pound or pulse this with your fresh basil leaves. Add the cooled, golden toasted pine nuts to the mixture and pound or pulse gently for a few seconds. Turn out into a bowl and add half of the Parmesan. Gently stir this in the add the olive oil - just enough to bind the sauce to get it to the right semi-wet but firm consistency.

Taste the mixture, then add a little salt and pepper and the rest of the cheese. Add some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a little bit of this and a little bit more of that until you get it right - this is the best way to make pesto. There are no real rules, but as long as you make it fresh and use the best ingredients it’ll always taste superb! When you taste it for the last time, it might need a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon juice isn’t listed in all recipes but is quite nice, as it brings the fragrance of the basil out.

For the pasta:

  • 400g Tipo ‘00’ flour
  • 4 large free range eggs

I recommend Tipo ‘00’ flour which Italian durum wheat flour. It’s especially finely ground which gives you a really silky smooth pasta dough with a nice bite when it’s cooked. All you do is place the flour on a clean, flat surface, make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into it. Using a fork, beat the eggs until smooth. Then mix the flour and egg together bit by bit until you have a dough. Knead the dough with a little more flour if necessary until it’s silky smooth and it springs back when you poke it. Wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge until you want to use it. Pasta will keep for 24 hours like this and freezes really well.

Jamie Oliver Pasta MakerDivide your pasta into 4 pieces and wrap 3 of them well in clingfilm. Set your pasta machine up, dust the rollers and your bench with a little flour and roll your first piece through on the thickest setting. Fold the flattened piece in half and roll it through 5 or 6 times to work your dough and improve it’s texture. Dust the pasta on both sides and roll it down through the machine settings, getting thinner and thinner every time, dusting with flour again if you need to at any point. You should end up with a thin sheet of pasta about 1 to 2 mm thick.

Set up the cutter and connect the crank to it. Flour the rollers and your rolled piece of pasta once more and feed it slowly through. It should come out the other side in nice long thin pieces of tagliatelle. Toss the tagliatelle in a little flour and lay on a board. When you have about 500g of tagliatelle, stop rolling. The rest of your dough, wrapped in clingfilm, will keep in the fridge for another day.

Blanch the tagliatelle in lots of boiling salted water until just cooked. Drain - reserving a little cooking water - and toss with the pesto sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil, and loosed with a little of the cooking water if the sauce is a little thick. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and the remaining basil leaves, torn and sprinkled over the top.