Friday, May 25, 2012

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta with Asparagus, Red Pepper and Eggplant and Tomato Sauce

Now I know why pappardelle pasta is so popular in Italy where they actually have festivals honouring this close cousin to the fettuccine. Pappardelle are much broader, cut into strands up to an inch in width. They are visually beautiful, resembling wide satin ribbons, wrapping all the luscious ingredients from your favourite sauce.
Traditionally, pappardelle are served with a rich thick braised meat sauce or 'ragu'. For my homemade pappardelle, I went with a lighter primavera type sauce. Not only is it a healthier version but also a time saver. You do not  need to labour for hours with my easy to make asparagus, red pepper, eggplant and cherry tomato sauce.  It is an ideal vegan, vegetarian friendly pasta dish, yet sure to please all the meat lovers out there.

Pappardelle pasta  (cooked al dente in salted boiling water and drained)
1/2 cup or more pasta water ( reserved water used for cooking the pasta)
extra virgin oil
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper diced
1 cup peeled and diced eggplant
1 garlic clove finely minced
1 lb fresh asparagus (cut into pieces)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tomato chopped
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 
Salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes (optional)

In a skillet pour a generous amount (3-4 tablespoons) of extra virgin oil. Heat the oil and add the onions. Allow the onions to become a golden colour. Add the diced eggplant and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes to enhance the flavours. You may have to add more oil as the eggplant  tend to absorb it. Stir in the red peppers, asparagus pieces and chopped garlic ( you can add some chili flakes for a spicier sauce). Saute for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the cherry tomatoes. Stir and add about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft. If needed add more pasta water. Toss in the the drained pasta which has been cooked al dente in salted boiling water. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce as you continue cooking for a minute or two. Grate the desired amount of parmigiano cheese. Serves 4 or more.

I know that the idea of making homemade pasta for the first time can be intimidating for many of us.  Once you conquer your fears, I guarantee that you will get hooked on making homemade pasta. I've provided a step by step photo tutorial to help guide you through the process. 
Nothing compares to homemade pasta. The added bonus is that it freezes will so you can have some on hand for those last minute meals. Just make sure to let it dry slightly and use parchment paper to separate the layers of pasta when freezing in your plastic containers. The pasta will keep for several months...if it lasts long enough .

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta:

4 Cups of all purpose flour
6 large eggs

Place the flour on a clean surface (a counter or large wooden board). Make a well in the center of the flour. Break the eggs into the well and lightly beat with a fork.

Start incorporating the flour a little at a time. Continue blending in the flour with your fingertips. The amount of flour used will depend on the size of eggs and humidity. You may not need all the flour.
Remove excess flour from the work surface and start kneading your dough on this lightly floured area. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Make a disk with the dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand for at least 30 minutes or more.

Roll out the dough into a 9 inch disk and cut into 6 pieces. I start my machine at #6 and roll each piece. I then lower it to #4 and roll the dough pieces once again. Continue this process until #1, which will give you a thin dough. Roll the strip of dough into a cylinder and cut 3/4" to 1" strips.

Place the strips on a clean cloth or a work surface light dusted with flour and allow to dry before cooking in salted boiling water.  The pasta also freezes well for later use.


  1. homemade pappardelle are better than mine...Today I've posted a recipe ,come to my blog!Have a good weekend , a hug...