There are few things I like more than freshly made, thinly cut egg pasta, cooked until al dente and then dressed with anchovies and butter.
The combination of the fresh pasta: light, silky and almost buoyant in your mouth, coated with a rich, salty, nut-brown sauce of melted butter and dissolved anchovies is an extremely delicious one. It’s a dish that manages to be gusty and – like me after a few drinks – a little bit loud, but at the same time remain soft and rounded and to taste both luxurious and everyday.
Tagliolini with butter and anchovies
- 200 g farina di semola (semolina flour) or plain pasta flour
- 2 medium eggs
- 6 – 8 best anchovy filets under oil
- 75 – 100 g butter
Make a mound of flour on the work surface and scoop a deep hollow in the center. Break the eggs into the hollow and then using your fingers beak the yolks and start working the egg into the flour. Bring the dough together until you have a smoothly integrated mixture.
Knead the dough, pushing it forward with the heel of your palm. Fold the dough in half, give it a half turn and press it hard against the heel of your palm again. Knead for a full eight minutes by which time the dough should be smooth and soft as putty.
Cut the ball of pasta into 6 pieces (the general rule is the number of pieces should be 3 times the number of eggs. So 2 eggs = 6 pieces). Sprinkle the work surface with flour. Set the pasta machine to the widest setting. Flatten one of the pieces of dough by pummeling it with your hands and then run it through the machine. Fold the pasta as you would an envelope by bringing the two ends over each other, so the piece is a third of its length, and run it through the machine again. Repeat with the other 5 pieces. Close the gap in the rollers down by one notch and run the pasta pieces through one by one. Continue thinning the pieces progressively closing down the notches one by one until the pasta is as thin as you want it.
Attach the cutter to the pasta machine and the run the sheets of pasta through the cutter and lay the Tagliolini on a well floured board until you are ready to cook them.
Bring a large pan of well salted water to a fast boil and add the pasta – it will take just a few minutes so keep tasting.
In a large saute pan, over a low flame melt the butter and the anchovies (drained from their oil), prodding the anchovies gently with the back of a wooden spoon so they dissolve into the butter. The butter should foam very slightly but no more.
Once the pasta is al dente (tender but with bite) drain it and add it to the sauté pan, stir so each strand is coated with anchovy butter and serve immediately.