To welcome our friend visiting from Washington, DC, and to take his mind off his lost luggage (curse you, JFK Airport!), we decided to make a light pasta dish perfect for that jet-lagged hunger: homemade farfalle (or bow-tie pasta) in a simple sauce made with the tomatoes we brought up from the farms in Benevento this past weekend.
To make the pasta dough:
300 grams of semolina flour (doubly machinated if possible)
100 grams of regular “00” flour (bread flour)
1 T oil
Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and oil together. Add the beaten egg mixture to the flour. Mix together until you form a ball of dough. (You can tell when the dough is right by the following: add more water until the mixture forms a cohesive ball of dough. If the ball of dough sticks to your hands, however, work in more 00 flour until it doesn’t stick.) Roll out the dough onto a flat board and let it sit until it isn’t gummy anymore, but is still soft. (If it cracks when you pick it up, you’ve left it too long). An hour or so should do it. Then cut the dough lengthwise into ¾-inch wide strips. Cut these strips into 1-inch pieces, so that you have lots of ¾” x 1” rectangles. Pinch the middle of each rectangle together so they look like bowties (or butterflies). Hint: instead of using a knife, you can get a small wheel that looks like a small pizza cutter but the wheel is bevelled, which gives the pasta those zig-zag edges.
For the sauce, clean a pound or so of fresh tomatoes, preferably San Marzano or cherry tomatoes. (Interestingly, in Italy the larger, less tasty tomatoes are used for salads while the really tasty little ones are used to make sauce; in the U.S., we usually do the opposite!). Some people first boil all of these tomatoes for a few minutes, then cool them to take off their skins, but we just chop them all up and put it in a large saucepan with plenty of olive oil and garlic, a little bit of water and a few leaves of basil or a pinch of oregano, and let it cook down for 2 hours or so. Salt to taste, and when you’re ready to serve, garnish with plenty of chopped basil and a little more extra virgin olive oil.