Green Bow-tie Pasta
This dish, with its hand-made, hand-twisted bow-tie pasta, is a labor of love. Its red, green, and white colors reflect the Italian flag. The watercress-flavored bow-tie pasta is striped with softened goat cheese and bright red fresh tomato puree. Basil chiffonade adds a final, classic touch. Make the pasta and puree ahead of time and let the cheese come to room temperature. Cook the pasta at the last minute and it’s on the table in no time.
- Green Bow-tie Pasta
- Watercress - 10 ounces, stemmed and washed
- Semolina - 9 ounces (about 2 cups)
- Pinch of salt
- Egg White - 1
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Roma Tomatoes - 2 pounds, peeled and seeded
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Ricotta-style goat cheese - 8 ounces, at room temperature
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Basil leaves - 5, cut in thin strips (chiffonade)
To prepare the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the watercress. Boil 1 minute. Drain well, then pass through a food mill or mince in a small food processor.
Mound the semolina on a work surface and make a crater in the top of the mound. Put the watercress, salt, and egg white in the crater. With your fingers, mix until it forms a dough. Knead the dough slowly several times until it is smooth and slightly elastic. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface. Working with one-third of the dough at a time, roll into a very thin strip, using as few rolling strokes as possible. Or, roll out into strips using a pasta machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
With a crinkle-edge rolling cutter, slice the pasta into 3/4-inch-by-1-1/4-inch rectangles. Lift a rectangle, holding an end in each hand, and twist in the center to form a bow-tie. Twist all the rectangles. Set aside to dry slightly.
To prepare the tomato puree: Put the tomatoes, olive oil, and salt in a food processor and process until almost smooth; leave a little texture. Set aside.
To prepare the cheese: Mash the ricotta with a fork until soft. Put in a pastry bag fitted with a medium fluted tip.
To finish the pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Slip the bow-ties into the water and cook 4 minutes, gently swirling the water as they cook. Remove with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on towels.
To serve: Fill each warmed plate with pasta. Draw a large X across each plate of pasta with the goat cheese. Spoon tomato puree between the arms of the X, and in the center. Drizzle each dish with extra-virgin olive oil. Garnish with basil strips.