Fresh tomatoes? In the middle of Autumn? It’s 4 degrees outside! I know, it seems an odd choice but cherry tomatoes were so cheap at the supermarket this week, I just couldn’t pass them up. Especially considering that all those delicious winter seasonal vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and silverbeet were at least $5(!!), I didn’t feel so bad buying hothouse tomatoes for only $3 a punnet. I also thought it would be quite nice to do a dish for all my Northern Hemisphere friends who are enjoying all that glorious Spring sunshine…you lucky ducks! I’m not at all jealous.
Homemade Pasta with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Burrata, perfect anytime of year.
“Hang on one minute” I hear you say. “I’m cool about the cherry tomatoes in Autumn, but you only mention now that we’re going to be making our own pasta….sorry Kate, so not cool with that”. I know! I would have said the exact same thing a few weeks ago too but I have now discovered how easy, delicious and cheap homemade pasta is and I’m hooked. We eat quite a bit of pasta in our house. My husband will declare that he has been deprived of pasta and that ‘we never eat pasta’ if we haven’t had pasta at least two times a week. I prefer it in a little more moderation, but I am still a big fan especially when it is cold outside and I’m hungry and need a big bowl of comfort. We always without a doubt will have dried pasta because for some reason I just can’t stand that stuff you get in the chilled section of the supermarket that is masquerading as fresh pasta. It just tastes like stodgy slime to me. Freshly made pasta on the other hand, well that’s the holy grail to me, but that was always reserved for when I went out for dinner and a qualified chef could make it for me….well, until last month that was.
Ignore that pathetic looking basil plant in the background and focus on that awesome looking one in the big pot with the parsley! It’s a rare occurrence when something does well in my garden!
My brother has made homemade pasta for awhile now so when I decided to give it a whirl I called him and got the recipe and a few pointers. I was going to make it that weekend but got distracted so decided to make it, for the first time ever i might add, on a weeknight, after preschool with two hungry boys running around body slamming each other (yeah, that’s their latest craze, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when my one year old and four year old are teenagers). Call me crazy. Surprisingly it was easy and turned out to be really delicious. I wouldn’t recommend you attempt making your first batch of homemade pasta on a weeknight, for your own sanity, especially if you have little ones, I would recommend you do it when you have a bit of time, but eventually I guarantee you will be making it during the week. Here are a few tips I have learnt along the way:
1. Don’t add too much flour to start with. Dump 2/3 cup on the bench but only incorporate what you need. It’s easier to add more later than to take it away.
2. If you have added a little too much flour, don’t stress, it often absorbs a little excess flour when the dough is resting. If it’s been rested and still dry then sorry folks, you’re going to have to start again.
3. Knead the dough for a good 3-5 min. You’ll know when it’s been kneaded enough when the dough is silky, smooth and springy.
4. I think resting the pasta dough for at least an hour gives the best pasta.
5. Make sure the pasta is well floured before you run it through your machine.
6. Don’t over cook the pasta! Two – three minutes max!
7. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll try and help. I’m no expert Italian pasta maker who’s family has been making it for centuries, but I have worked out how a novice can have some pretty good tasting pasta at home!
Now, all you smarty pants out there are probably looking at these photos and thinking that that’s not burrata in the photos. Yes you clever clogs, you’re right. I absolutely looooove burrata and if I ever see it on a menu it is the only thing I will order. I am obsessed. If you haven’t had it before it is a big ball of fresh mozzarella on the outside filled with cream and cheese curd. Cheese heaven and utterly delicious! Unfortunately when I went to make this recipe for the blog there was none at the supermarket so I subbed in some fresh mozzarella, which tastes absolutely delicious in this recipe also. In actual fact I see burrata as a bit of a luxury ingredient, well at least it is where I come from, and a little pricey, so it is a treat when I put it in this dish. Instead if I’m trying to keep the cost down I’ll use fresh mozzarella or bocconcini or if you want to make it even more affordable then feel free to just add a good shaving of parmesan on top of the blistered cherry tomatoes and forget the fresh cheese.
Homemade Pasta with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour or 00
- 1 free range egg
- 1 free range egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp cold pressed olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 500 g/1lb fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp cold pressed olive oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves half a cup thinly sliced and half a cup left whole
- 120 g/4oz fresh burrata mozzarella or bocconcini
For the pasta:
Tip flour onto a work surface in a big mound and make a well in the centre. Place the egg, egg yolk, 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt in the well. Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs. Now using the fork slowly mix in the flour from the sides of the well into the eggs little by little. Keep adding the flour until you have a sticky dough. At this point you may not need all the flour and most times I make it I don’t, it all depends on the size of your eggs and even the humidity of the day, so you can expect to have a little flour leftover on the side. Remember you can always add dough later if your dough is too sticky but you can’t take it away if your mixture is too dry!
Using you hands need the dough for about 3-5 minutes until it becomes smooth. You may need to add a little of that leftover flour as you need if the dough is too sticky. Wrap your smooth ball of pasta in some cling film and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 min, but preferably 1 hour.
I prefer to roll out my pasta with a pasta machine, but you can always do this by hand if you don’t have one (but it’s a seriously great investment because once you’ve made homemade pasta, you’ll become addicted to the stuff).
It’s easier to work with a smaller amount of dough in the pasta machine so cut the dough in half and rewrap in cling film the half you are not working with.
Lightly flour the machine and dough and feed it through the largest setting a few times, folding it in half after each time. Then slowly reduce the thickness of the settings and pass it through each one once until you reach your desired thickness. For this dish I like it on the second or third thinest.
Cut the pasta into 1.5cm/ 1/2in strips, lightly flour then set aside until you’re ready to cook. The first time you make homemade pasta i recommend you lay the strips out flat so that they don’t stick together. Once you get a feel for the pasta and how much flour it needs to be dusted with not to stick etc. then I like to roll my pasta up into birds nests so it doesn’t take up so much space while I wait to cook it.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil to cook the pasta. While you are waiting for it to boil make the cherry tomato sauce (see below). Once the cherry tomato sauce is finished and the water is boiling gently drop your pasta into the boiling water, gently stir it to prevent it sticking then leave it to cook for only 2-3 min. The pasta won’t take very long at all. To test that it’s cooked, remove a piece and take a bite. If it is tender but still a little firm to the bite then it is ready to be drained. Pour into a colander to drain.
For the cherry tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 220C/430F on fan bake. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and scatter over the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat then arrange tomatoes in a single layer on the baking tray.
Place tray in the oven and roast for 10 min or until the cherry tomatoes are just starting to blacken a little on the tops.
Remove from the oven and gently mix through the garlic and thinly sliced basil.
Divide the pasta between two serving bowls. Top with cherry tomatoes (making sure you also spoon over any juices from the pan), burrata (I like to tear this) and fresh basil leaves. Garnish with some cracked pepper and a little olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.