Homemade Farfalle Al Pomodoro
Recipe courtesy of Gabriele Bertaccini

Homemade Farfalle al Pomodoro

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr (includes drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings (makes 1 pound pasta)
Is there anything better than homemade pasta? A meal of tender, springy noodles that you’ve shaped yourself is one of the great pleasures of the table—especially when tossed in a bright and sweet tomato sauce. The key to good pasta is using 00 flour from Italy, which is finely ground and has a higher protein level than all-purpose flour, producing a dough with a nice bite. (It’s also the gold standard for homemade pizza doughs.) The pomodoro sauce requires little more than canned tomatoes, basil, oil and garlic—and can simmer untended while you make the pasta.



Special equipment:
a pasta machine; optional, a fluted pasta cutter wheel
  1. Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center to make a deep well with steep sides. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, then carefully pour them into the well. Gently whisk the eggs with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling it from the sides of the well and whisking with the fork. As you incorporate more flour, the dough will start to take shape. This should take about 5 minutes total and the dough will look scraggly but combined.
  2. Use a bench scraper or your hands to continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough feels too dry, add 1 teaspoon water and continue to knead. If the dough feels too wet, add 1 tablespoon flour and continue to knead. Continue kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces, then cover with a damp kitchen towel to keep the pieces from drying out. If using a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to flatten 1 piece of dough to a 1/4-inch-thick oval. With the roller set to the widest position, run the dough through 2 times. Change to setting 2 and run the dough through 2 times. Change to setting 4 and run the dough through once, then change to setting 6 and run the dough through one final time. At this point, the dough should be thin enough for shaping and you should be able to see the outline of your hand through it.
  4. If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval with your hands. Place the oval on a floured work surface and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the center of the dough outwards and constantly moving and lifting the dough to make sure it's not sticking. Continue rolling the dough to a rectangle about 24 inches by 4 inches.
  5. Flour a baking sheet for the finished pasta. Use a pizza cutter to trim the long sides of the dough sheet to make them even and straight. Cut the dough in half lengthwise into two 2-inch-wide strips. Use a fluted pasta cutter wheel to trim the short sides, then use the same fluted wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-by-2-inch rectangles (the rectangles should have 2 fluted sides and 2 straight sides). Working with 1 rectangle at a time (keep the rest of them covered with a damp kitchen towel), pinch the 2 straight sides together in the middle to form a bowtie shape. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, dusting another baking sheet with flour once the first one is filled. Let the pasta dry, uncovered, for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  6. While the pasta is drying, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a large skillet with the garlic. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil is shimmering and the garlic is starting to turn golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl and use your hands to crush them. Slowly add them to the skillet (take caution as the oil will splatter a bit when the tomatoes first hit it). Stir in the red pepper flakes, basil, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and slightly sweeter, about 40 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, then add to the skillet with the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir until everything is well coated. Top with more basil and Parmesan.