Pasta Squares with the Perfect Pesto

 

1/2 cup Mediterranean pine nuts
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small clove garlic
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, soaked in water and dried
1/4 cup or more of light Ligurian olive oil
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 cup all purpose flour (or Italian 00 flour)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white wine

Make Pesto:  In a the bowl of a mortar, place the pine nuts and coarse salt and start grinding.  Add the garlic and grind until a fine paste forms.  Scrape down the pesto with a spoon periodically.  Slowly add the basil leaves and grind until completely smooth.  Add the olive oil slowly and grind and then add the cheese last. 

Make Pasta:  Place flour on workspace and make a well in the center.  Crack the eggs in the well and beat lightly with fork. Add white wine to beaten eggs and mix with the fork.   Slowly incorporate the flour with the fork until a dough forms.  Knead and add flour until the dough is not sticky any more.  This may take a little more flour - you need to just go by the feel of the dough.  Wrap in floured plastic and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Cut into thirds and take each piece and run it through pasta rollers on the widest setting.  Fold in thirds and run through several more times.  Adjust rollers to next thinnest setting and pass pasta through. Pass through until you get to the thickness you like - usually #5 or #6.  Lay pasta sheets on floured counter and cut into squares. 

If you do not want to make homemade pasta, you can buy lasagna noodles, boil them and then cut them into squares.

Assemble: Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta sheets and boil for just a couple of minutes.  In a cold skillet (not over any heat) add the pesto and just a little of the hot pasta water and stir.  Add the boiled pasta squares and toss gently.  Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle a little more olive oil and garnish with fresh basil.