Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recipe: Home-made Tagliatelle with Edible Balcony Tomato and Basil Sauce

With all the mass cooking and mass entertaining that comes with the festive season, it's so good to return to the normal ebb and flow of my food life - less seafood, ham and turkey and more fresh fruit and edible balcony produce.
Since we're heading down to the South Coast tomorrow for a week I thought I'd use up the last of my first tomato crop and trim back the basil bush that's made a remarkable recovery since the Caterpillar Attack.

To create my Saturday feast, all I needed was some fresh pasta, tomatoes, basil, garlic, chilli flakes, olive oil, salt, pepper and parmigiano cheese.

I used the last of my balcony cherry tomatoes and cut up the larger tub tom tomato variety and threw in some store-bought grape tomatoes as well.

In summer, I find fresh, small, sweet tomatoes make a much more delicious pasta sauce base than tinned tomatoes.

I want to use the aniseedy basil leaves whole so they almost become like a vegetable in the sauce rather than a herb.

There was some wonderful organic purple garlic at the Fratelli Fresh grocer downstairs. Bit pricier than the bleached white garlic from China I know but it gives such a superior flavour you'll never buy anything else.

It brought up a sweat but I made a batch of fresh tagliatelle pasta using my hand-cranked Italian pasta machine. I used my tried and tested pasta recipe.

I was 41 years old before I attempted making my own pasta. What a regret! Not only is it the ONLY way to enjoy pasta but I find even the - some would say - laborious action of turning the pasta handle a relaxing, meditative experience.

Recipe: Homemade Tagliatelle with Edible Balcony Tomato and Basil Sauce

500g of fresh pasta
2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, picked
5 cloves of organic garlic, sliced finely
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano

Fry garlic over gentle heat in 1/4 cup of olive oil (reserve some olive oil to dress the finished pasta) until it is soft but not coloured

Now add the tomatoes and turn up the heat. Throw in one handful of basil leaves, chilli flakes salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes have collapsed. This will only take about 8-10 minutes.

Put your pasta into a large pot of boiling, salted water. Fresh pasta takes no time to cook so it should reach al dente in under four minutes. Keep an eye on it. You don't want to overcook it and ruin all that hard work!

When the pasta is cooked scoop it up with a strainer and throw it straight into the fresh tomato sauce. Don't run it through tap water as this will wash off the delicious, starchy water that will help thicken your sauce.

Turn the heat off. Now throw in the rest of the basil, half the grated parmigiano, and drizzle the remaining olive oil through the pasta to glossen up the dish.

Couldn't wait so I ate it straight out of the pot! Hubba Bubba..... this is the taste of summer! The pasta melted in my mouth, the tomatoes were juicy and oh so sweet, the basil leaves were fragrant mouth bursts of aniseed and the olive oil was grassy and peppery.
What are you waiting for? Give it a try now.


  1. Home made pasta is the BEST!!!
    Oh - and the aroma of all that basil - you must have been in heaven. I was picking basil from my own garden last night and lamented that I couldn't share the wonderful smells via the www. Photos may capture the glorious green and bold shape of it's leaves - but it really is only a small part of basil's wonderful story.

  2. What am *I* waiting for? LOL Just for my parents to 'donate' the two prime ingredients that's all;) That looks delicious Indira, though I have made pasta in the past(a) (sorry), I admit I always think I don't have enough time these days. Once I have made it though, I tell myself I wont wait as long again 'this time';) Fresh tomato and basil - food of the Goddess' and Gods:)

  3. YUM...there's nothing like fresh pasta with tomato, basil, garlic & chilli!! To make even lighter work of the pasta rolling & cutting you can get a motor (about $100) for your pasta machine which leaves your hands free to concentrate on feeding the pasta through....they're brilliant! Now i have a Kitchen Aid and use it with the pasta attachment or the extruder attachments on my single auger juicer.

    I made some fresh spaghetti last night, but it was just too darn hot to be making fresh pasta! I ended up freezing it for another day.

    Your picture has made me hungry...time for a late lunch! :)

  4. Hi Indira,

    I watched Samson and Delilah yesterday, after you mentioned seeing it on the Gold Coast. Was interesting.

  5. I've just stumbled across your blog and am really enjoying reading it.

    The pasta looks delicious! I made a similar dish for dinner tonight with a mixture of tigerella, tommy toe and roma tomatoes from the garden, but I was WAY more lazy and used shop bought pasta.

  6. I've never made fresh pasta but would love to try - maybe I'll treat myself to a pasta machine one day. It does look so lovely and soft mixed in with the fresh ingredients.

  7. Thanks Indira

    I told another blog buddy that I was gonna dust off my pasta machine and now thanks to your recipe I really will. Hubby is cooking tonight but I'll make some tagliatelle or fettucine today and keep in in the fridge until Tuesday for dinner. Recipe looks so simple and yummo!

    Cheers - Joolz

  8. Hi Sally,
    Yes, I agree. Can't wait til someone invents smello-blogging!!! Indira

    Hi Coby,
    Yes I concur... why is it that all the best things take time to prepare? I am finding however that the more I make pasta the faster I'm getting at it. I can make a batch for 6 people in 40 minutes including dough resting time. I'll be a fasta pasta mamma soon... Indira

    Hi suziwong66,
    yes you've mentioned the pasta motor before and I will enquire now that I'm Sydney-bound for a while. What's your favourite pasta flavour? Indira

    Hi rachel,
    glad you saw Samson and Delilah ( my pick for the Foreign Film Oscar) It's harrowing but I think it's a film every Australias should see, particularly since the issues it explores I still blighting Aboriginal people and destroying their remaining culture. I will recommend a lighter movie that I just watched again on DVD Death At A Funeral. Rarely do I laugh out aloud when I am watching a film by myself. This film had me in stitched, literally. Indira

    Hey funkbunny,
    All those tomato varieties sound delicious. I wish I had more room on my balcony to experiment. Homemade pasta does take some time but it's the effort that's gone into it that somehow makes it taste even better, don't you think? I know we can't do it all the time but its good to know fresh pasta is just 40 minutes away! Indira

    Dear arista,
    you'll find it hard to have dried pasta again after eating fresh egg pasta. It's like chalk and cheese. hopw you do give it a whirl sometime. Indira

    Hi joolzmac,
    how did your pasta turn out? Tell me all... Indira