I have a number of herbs growing in the greenhouse and of all of these it is the basil that is the happiest and I have therefore found myself with a glut of this beautifully fragrant herb.
If there is one herb I am happy to have a glut of, it’s basil, it is such a versatile herb. From picking a few leaves for a salad through to using a big bunch for pesto, there are so many ways to use it.
Today I thought I’d have a go at using it in ways that I had, until now, not considered. My inspiration came from the wonderful blog “The Apron Archives” and her recent post for Basil and Citrus Cookies.
It was whilst making the cookies I discovered how easy it was to get a huge quantity of basil to disappear into a relatively small quantity of flour, ready to be added to pretty much anything that required flour and would benefit from the distinct flavour of basil.
I love my stick blender and it’s various attachments, and with the chopping attachment I got busy making up a good size batch of basil infused flour. The question now was…. what would I make with it?
My first choice was an obvious one….. Pasta!
We just love pasta and since discovering fresh pasta and going on to invest in a wonderful Italian Pasta Machine, we are completely addicted to the process of making it as well as the joy of eating it.
Usually I make pasta dough the traditional way. A pile of flour on the kitchen bench, with a well in the centre for the eggs etc. And usually I end up in a mess, the well walls hold for a while and then the following moments are a scene of mild panic as I try to keep the contents from flowing everywhere and am scooping everything franticly into a sticky ball. Actually, this flash of chaos is pretty good fun, but it does make a mess of the kitchen bench and me.
Today, for the first time I thought I’d be lazy and see what would happen if I simply popped the ingredients into my Breville Mixer.
- 375g of Plain Flour which I had finely chopped, using my stick blender, 70g of fresh basil leaves.
- 10ml of Olive Oil
- 2 fresh eggs (at room temperature)
- 60ml of water – Add this gradually as the dough hook does its work
With all the ingredients in the bowl of my mixer, I used the dough hook to bring it all together into a ball of dough. It took no time at all and made a good, springy dough that would have taken me a fair bit of kneading had I done it my usual way. I’m not sure I’ll be playing bench top volcano games again now I know how quick and easy it is to let my mate Breville do the hard work.
I sprinkled flour onto the kitchen bench and gave the dough a quick knead to get rid of the slight stickiness.
I rubbed a few drops of olive oil over the ball of dough to keep it moist, wrapped it in cling film and popped it into the fridge for an hour.
Now for the fun bit, turning a lump of dough into delicious linguine. Time to play with the pasta machine!
I divided the ball of dough into four to make it easier to work with. The three pieces I am not working with straight away go back in the wrapper so they don’t dry out.
Having given the dough a quick roll with my rolling pin, I set my machine to zero and pass it through the rollers, each time I pass it through, I reduce the gap until I get to six on the dial.
The thickness at the machine’s number six setting makes a perfect linguine. So, having attached the cutter, I feed the pasta sheet through. Hubby arrives at this point, he loves using the pasta machine and is always keen to help out. He gets busy catching the freshly cut linguine and neatly hanging it on the drying rack. Pasta making is fun alone, but even better fun with two!
After an hour drying on the rack it was time to get cooking.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the pasta. It takes just a few minutes to cook, fresh pasta cooks quickly so keep an eye on it.
I served my basil linguine with sun dried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and finely grated parmesan. It was delicious!
Oh life is good, if not rather basil flavoured!