Great pesto video at chow from SF’s Tablehopper. This has been around for a while and others have written about this particular chef’s pesto. But if you haven’t seen it and love to cook, please watch the demo. What I love are all the finer points the chef, Paolo Laboa, makes—how he finds the right basil…he soaks the basil…imports the right kind of pine nuts…recommends using a neutral oil rather than olive if you don’t have the right olive oil…how his sentiments on taking time and cooking from the heart would sound cliché were they not so simply and genuinely stated…the oddness of adding white wine to the pasta dough…cooking it in single sheets (love that). Very very fine glimpse of a thoughtful articulate chef. Now, if only summer would get here.
Until the warm weather arrives, you can at least make your own pasta. Here’s a delicious egg yolk pasta that’s fantastic with a little butter and regianno and if you don’t feel like waiting for summer or locating a basil grower who would live up to Laboa’s standards—then don’t. Go out and buy some grocery store basil and get out your mortar and pestle, make some pesto and know that summer will be here before you know it.
2 cups of all-purpose flour (or “00” flour if you have a good Italian market nearby)
7 large egg yolks (freeze the whites for angel food cake or meringue)
1 large egg
1 ounce water (or per Laboa, white wine!)
½ ounce olive oil
Dump the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the remaining ingredients. Stir the ingredients into the flour using your fingers until it all comes together. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead just until it comes together (you can sprinkle with a little water if it’s not coming together). Press it together into a rectangle about an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes and up to an hour or refrigerate for 24 hours. Cut into three equal pieces and roll each out, making a couple of passes through each thickness. Roll to the desired thickness—I usually stop at the penultimate setting. Cut into sheets and cook in perfectly seasoned boiling water. Serve with butter and grated regianno or Laboa inspired pesto.
This will make a little more than a pound of pasta, good for four and the sheets can be wrapped in plastic and frozen then boiled straight from the freezer when you want them.