Wide Ribbon Pasta with Asparagus and Basil (Tagliatelle con Asparagi)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of red chili flakes
- 20 spears asparagus
- 4 whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- 20 basil leaves
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 12 ounces tagliatelle past (ribbon pasta; recipe follows)
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped Italian parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
- 4 basil bouquets (for garnish, optional)
- 1 generous cup 'OO' Italian flour, or substitute all-purpose flour (17 ounces dry weight)
- 5 whole eggs, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- Cut asparagus thinly at a diagonal, allowing tip to remain approximately 1/4 inch long. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan at medium temperature, adding garlic and red chili flakes. Do not brown garlic. When cooked, add diced tomatoes, basil leaves, asparagus slices and chicken stock. Cook for 2 minutes at medium temperature, reducing liquid by 75 percent. Remove from heat.
- Heap flour on a countertop and form a well in it. Crack eggs into the well and add salt. Knead for 5 minutes to form smooth dough. Allow to rest a minimum of 30 minutes. Roll very thin and cut tagliatelle ribbon noodles approximately 1/4 inch wide and 12 inches long.
- Boil tagliatelle in a large pot of salted water. Stir with a kitchen fork to prevent noodles from sticking together. When pasta is 90% cooked, set aside a small amount of its water, then strain pasta and add it to saute pan containing sauce. Add parsley, basil, olive oil, butter and reserved pasta water. (Placing pasta not quite cooked in the sauce and adding a small amount of pasta water allows the pasta's natural starch to bind the sauce and the flavor of the sauce to penetrate the pasta.) Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garnish with basil bouquets if desired.