Pasta alla Chitarra with Truffle Pesto by Carmela Hayes
Chestnut Flour Pasta
- 250g Chestnut flour
- 250g 00 flour
- 5 large free range eggs
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Semolina/Polenta for dusting
- 2 x 90g Jar Sacla` Truffle Pesto
- 70g Parmesan, grated (optional)
- 12 small basil leaves to finish
- Ladle of starchy pasta water
- Tumble the chestnut and 00 flour into a mixing bowl and stir with a fork until both flours are fully incorporated. Tip the flour onto a large wooden board and make a well in the centre, ensuring the hole (well) will be large enough to take the capacity of 5 large eggs. Crack the eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt (optional).
- Use either a fork to whisk and gently incorporate the flour into the eggs or use your fingertips, choose your preferred method. Work the mixture into a pliable ball of dough and knead the pasta dough until smooth and elastic, this will take approximately 7 minutes with a little elbow grease.
- Cover the smooth dough with either cling film, a clean tea-towel or simply place a bowl over the top of the dough. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Once the dough has rested, halve the dough. Cover one half in cling-film again so it does not dry out.
- Attach and set up your pasta machine to a suitable work surface or use a long thin rolling pin.
- Form the uncovered dough into a flat disk, use your knuckles to help flatten down the dough, and roll the dough out with a rolling pin to the thickness of a playing card.
- Alternatively using a pasta machine, pass the pasta dough through the widest setting of the pasta machine once. Now envelope the dough (or fold it in half) and pass it through the widest setting again, repeat this step 6 times.
- Run the pasta through each setting twice (without folding) until you have a long sheet of thin pasta, the thickness of a playing card.
- Cut the sheets to 37cm in length (ideal width would be approx. 15cm) and place the sheet one at a time onto a ‘Chitarra wooden frame’. Using a rolling pin push the pasta onto the wire strings back and forth, this motion will cut the sheet into stands of pasta. If you do not have this specialist machine, simply flour your pasta well, fold it and cut strands to approx. 5mm in thickness.
- Place the cut pasta strands onto a bed of polenta or semolina flour, this will prevent the pasta from sticking. Continue with the remaining dough.
- Place a large pan of water onto boil, once boiling salt well. Salting the pasta water is essential as the pasta needs to absorb a certain level of salt to taste delicious and this will in turn compliment the sauce you choose to use. The pasta water they say should be as salty as the ‘Mediterranean Sea’. Once the pasta is cooked, al dente with a bite, drain it reserving a large ladle of pasta water.
- Place the pasta back into the saucepan and add the two jars of Sacla` Truffle Pesto, stir well. Add a small ladle of pasta water to emulsify the sauce. The sauce should have a seasonal fragrance of fresh truffles and will with the help of the starchy pasta water turn a little creamy. Stir well and serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and an optional side of grated Parmesan.