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Cookouts are being planned for July 4th and summer outdoor celebrations. Tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and pasta are all that is needed for this fresh pasta salad that you can prepare a day ahead.
I got this recipe from a small restaurant in Rome called Santo Padre many years ago. The key is to allow the aroma of basil, finely chopped garlic, olive oil and the pasta meld together overnight. The next day when you are ready to serve it, remove the basil and add freshly chopped basil and chopped tomatoes with the pasta and salt to taste.
Now of course I never do things the easy way, I like to make my own farfalle. A good store brand works well also. The fresh pasta flavor does make a difference and also it looks so much prettier when you make them a little larger then the store bought.
4 cups flour (all purpose, or half all purpose and half semolina flour)
Pinch of salt
4 medium eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Water (tepid) as required
Place the flour mixture on a pastry board and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, olive oil, salt and a small amount of water (if needed). Begin to stir the flour from the outside of the well into the wet ingredients. Continue this process until the dough holds together in a ball.
The dough should seem as if it is too dry, it should just stick together and the kneading should allow you to make a ball. Once it is rolled out in a pasta machine it will hold together. If the dough is too wet, rub a little flour on it, as it will be difficult to handle and too sticky to roll through the pasta machine.
Knead the dough for at least 10-15 minutes, and allow it to rest covered with a clean kitchen towel at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Yield: 6–8 Servings
After allowing the dough to rest, cut a piece off large enough to roll out to about 1’ long and 6” wide (these measurements are only a guideline, you can make it larger, this size is easy to work with). Roll the dough out until the dough is thin. Try to get a feel for the dough as you are rolling it out. Rub just enough of flour to allow you to work with it if it is too sticky. If you are using a rolling pin get a sense of the thickness by feeling the dough. Repeat the same thickness with each section that you roll out. Because there is egg in this dough the pasta will swell when cooking.
A pasta machine works very well as the consistency will always be the same. The process of rolling the dough through the different thickness settings also kneads it.
Cut strips about 1 1/4” wide with a clean cut lengthwise (you can use a pizza cutter). Make vertical cuts about 1” wide with a cookie cutter which has a fluted edge. When you have all the cuts made, pinch the middle of each one forming a bow.
When ready to cook, place the farfalle directly into salted boiling water. Fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook check after 3-5 minutes. The time will depend on whether you cook them fresh or dried. Remove them when they are al dente. Drain them and run them under a little cold water if you are going to use them for pasta salad.