In Italy I have an amazing neighbor: she’s from Emilia Romagna and she has a radiant personality, I can talk to her about anything and everything, she has always delicious cookies at home and she makes fresh pasta at least once per day (I quote her: ‘making pasta brings joy’). She worked in several countries in Europe, she can speak 4 different languages, she’s truly passionate about ayurveda and spices. She’s a very interesting person. It’s a pity she spends 6 months per year in Emilia-Romagna, because in Milan there’s not enough sun and ‘there’s no respect for those who want to cycle’.
Everytime we are both in Milan I go to her place to get some cooking lessons with a particular focus on classic recipes from Emilia-Romagna. I believe Italian people who love cooking should know how to roll the dough to make fresh pasta or how to prepare a proper filling for tortellini. It’s part of our culture and of who we are.
Last time we met we prepared tagliatelle with borage, a delicious variety of the more common version with spinach. Here is the recipe my sweet neighbor taught me!
TAGLIATELLE: INGREDIENTs for 6 people
600 gr. wheat flour
300 gr. borage
Wash the borage and boil it for 10 minutes in salted hot water, then drain it, be sure to squeeze all the water out and finely chop it with a big knife. Take the flour and put it on a flat surface (usually a wooden board), making a well at the center and add the eggs, the borage and some salt. Start whisking with a fork from the center and go wider and wider until all the ingredients have been absorbed. Start working the dough with hands until it’s very smooth (not too soft, not too hard). Divide the dough into smaller pieces and work them one at a time. Start working the first piece with the rolling pin; when you have rolled one side for a few minutes turn the dough 90° and start rolling again until it is thin and smooth (it’s important all the sides are the same thickness). If you have done things in the proper way, you should have a nice, spotless and smooth layer of fresh pasta. Fold the pasta on itself making a sort of ‘S’ and cut tagliatelle (width should be 1 cm). Dust your work surface with flour, open the tagliatelle and spread them. Do the same operation with the remaining dough pieces.
* Eggs must be room temperature (just take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before)
* The layer of pasta must be a few millimeters think – “the pasta must be impalpable‘
* The best surfaces to roll the dough is either wood or marble
These are the afternoons that enrich my life: I learnt how to make tagliatelle having fun and I came back home with a delicious meal (just boil them in hot water and add some butter – they will be amazing!).