Fresh Pasta With Buttered Tomatoes

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You can make fresh pasta at home without a single egg yolk, nonna, or pasta machine in sight. It’s easy, we promise! This style of pasta, with just two ingredients—semolina flour and water—is common in southern Italy. Look for the words “rimacinata” on your bag of semolina flour. This indicates a finer grind, which is best suited for pasta making. Regular all-purpose or bread flour might work in an egg-rich pasta dough but won’t quite cut it in this leaner version—the resulting pasta will be mushy and waterlogged after boiling.

Using hot water reduces the kneading time to mere minutes, and a brief rest yields a dough so silky it needs only a rolling pin to submit into springy, translucent sheets. For accuracy, measure out the water after it’s boiled and control the urge to make the dough too wet. It will seem a bit dry, but a quick knead and a short rest in a tightly sealed bag is transformative. When made correctly, the pasta is so easy to roll you shouldn’t even need to flour the surface.

The pared-back sauce, with plenty of late-season tomatoes and good butter, echoes this simplicity. Making the sauce in a large Dutch oven is key so there’s enough room to gently toss the pasta without the risk of breaking it.

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Ingredients

4 servings

2

cups (250 g) semolina flour, plus more for dusting

¼

cup extra-virgin olive oil

4

garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½

tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2

pints Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved, divided

Kosher salt

4

Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1

tsp. colatura (anchovy sauce) or fish sauce

2

oz. Parmesan (about 1½ cups), finely grated, plus more for serving

4

Tbsp. torn basil, divided

Preparation

Step 1

Using a fork, mix 2 cups semolina flour and ⅔ cup just-boiled water in a medium bowl until flour is moistened and looks pebbly. (Mixture may look dry, but it will hydrate fully as it rests. If large patches of dry flour remain, though, you can add up to 1 Tbsp. additional water.) Knead dough in bowl until a smooth, cohesive dough forms, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and close, pressing out all of the air. Let dough rest at room temperature 1–4 hours.

Step 2

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough and keeping remaining dough sealed in bag, roll out on a surface (no need to flour) into a long, narrow 1/16″-thick rectangle. Dust lightly with semolina flour (this will prevent sticking); starting at shorter end, fold sheet into thirds (do not to press too firmly; you want to keep dough from sticking to itself). Cut into ¾”-wide ribbons with a sharp knife. Gently unfurl pasta ribbons and transfer to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.

Step 3

Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes; cook, stirring often, until garlic is pale golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1 pint Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved, a big pinch of kosher salt, and ¼ cup water. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst and become saucy, 6–8 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, cook fresh pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until barely tender, about 1 minute.

Step 5

Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with tomato sauce. Add 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, 1 tsp. colatura (anchovy sauce) or fish sauce, remaining 1 pint Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved, 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan, and 2 Tbsp. torn basil. Using tongs or a wooden spoon, cook, stirring and adding a few tablespoonfuls of pasta cooking liquid if needed, until pasta is coated and glossy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

Step 6

Divide pasta among shallow bowls and top with more finely grated Parmesan and remaining 2 Tbsp. torn basil

Do ahead: Pasta dough can be made 1 day ahead. Keep covered and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

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