Homemade Bowtie Pasta with Fresh Thyme

bowties

cute little bowties

I caught this on a random Italian cooking show yesterday and, intrigued, decided to try them out for lunch.

Ingredients

100 grams of white flour
200 grams of semolina
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
water

Instructions

Pour both the flours in a mound on a large wooden working surface. Make a hole in the middle by swirling the fingers of one hand around the center a couple times. Add the eggs, salt and thyme leaves. Using a fork, first work the center to blend the eggs a bit, then start moving flour from the edges into the center. Add a little water when the pasta becomes too crumbly to work. When the pasta starts to form a uniform dough, switch to hand kneading. Knead for at least five minutes, adding small amounts of water as needed. Start with both hands, then switch to one hand for the ‘stretch and fold’ knead: with the lower half of your palm, firmly press the pasta ball forward on the board (the stretch) then fold the pasta back over on itself and keep going.

When the pasta is smooth and compact (with the herbs the pasta won’t be perfectly smooth, of course), form a ball and let it rest covered for a half hour. While it rests you can make your sauce.

To make the sauce: The bowties pair nicely with a clam sauce, according to the gal on the show. Having no clams on hand, I went in another direction.

Ingredients

5 small green zucchini
3 Tablespoons olive oil
30-40 grams of bottarga
salt & pepper
2 Tbls fresh thyme, chopped
white wine

Instructions

Rinse and chop the zucchini into very small pieces, either rounds or cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes on high flame. Then lower the heat and add most of the bottarga, a splash of white wine, and half the thyme. Simmer for a few more minutes until the wine is evaporated and the zucchini soft. Turn off the heat and salt and pepper to taste. Leave the sauce in the pan, covered. If you are going to cook the pasta immediately, start your pasta water now, since you will need a large amount and it will take a while to bring to a boil. I suggest using a tall spaghetti pot, ¾ full of well-salted water.

To make the bowtie shapes: Dust your work surface with some of the semolina and place the pasta on top. Start to roll it out into a circle form, as you would a pizza crust. Dust with flour as needed to keep from sticking, and keep rolling until the pasta is a large round, just a few millimeters thick.

Now cut the round into ¾-inch-wide long strips using a knife or pizza cutter. The rolling pin can serve as a guide to keep your strips straight and even, but don’t worry if they’re not perfect (one of the joys of homemade pasta is how peculiar they often turn out). Then cut the long strips into pieces about 1 ½-inches long. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently, firmly pinch each piece right in the middle to make the bowtie form. Continue until all the bowties are made.

When the pasta water is boiling, carefully transfer the bowties to the water. You should lift a few at a time and drop them in rather then dump the entire batch at once, but you will have to work quickly to get them all in the water: ideally within 30 seconds they’ll all be in the water. They will at first sink to the bottom. Gently stir them. After a minute or so they will start to float to the top and puff up. From the moment they do this, set your timer for 4 minutes. As soon as 4 minutes is up, turn off the heat, and using a hand-held strainer scoop the pasta out in batches and add directly to the sauce pan. Do not strain this kind of pasta all at once in a regular colander.

Gently combine the cooked pasta with the sauce directly in the sauce pan. Serve with another light sprinkle of bottarga and thyme.

bowties & bottarga

bowties & bottarga