No rolling, no shaping, no faff. Just mix your 2 ingredient dough, make a quick pesto (or use your favourite store-bought brand), and then use scissors to cut your little pasta strips straight into boiling water.
If you think making pasta from scratch is hard, this is the recipe that will change your mind. I saw this technique doing the rounds on social media recently and instantly wanted to try it. I love making pasta from scratch and find it super therapeutic, but there’s no denying that it’s a process, best reserved for weekends when you have more time to spend in the kitchen. This version means you get the satisfaction – and taste – of fresh, homemade pasta, in a fraction of the time, without having to roll anything out or create distinctive shapes.
Pesto pasta isn’t anything new, but recently I was in Liguria in Italy, and one of their most famous pasta dishes has to be trofie with pesto and green beans. We saw it on most menus and it’s just such a gorgeous combination of flavours and textures. It’s fresh, light and incredibly moreish.
Trofie is a small, hand-rolled spiral-shaped pasta which is tricky to find at the store – and very fiddly to make – but I think these little scissor-cut pasta strips are super similar in shape and texture, so they’re a perfect alternative here. It’s also essentially a one-pot recipe which I always love – cook the green beans right in there with the pasta, then toss with the pesto after a couple of minutes. This is a game-changer of a recipe and you have to give it a go.
- Flour. Regular plain flour is absolutely fine here – but you can use 00 flour if you have it.
- Egg. This recipe uses the 100g/3.5oz of flour to 1 whole egg ratio, so it’s very easy to scale up (this recipe as written is for one portion of pasta). Use good quality, free-range eggs if you can.
- Pesto. You’ll need fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, nuts (I’m using almonds and cashews), lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt. Or, use your favourite store-bought pesto to make the recipe even quicker.
How to make it
Start with your pasta dough. Mix your flour with your egg – I like to do this in a bowl using a fork to mix them – then get your hands in there and start to bring it together into a crumbly ball. The dough will be quite dry but just keep working it with your hands and you’ll find it starts to come together.
If it’s REALLY dry (eggs aren’t uniform in size so this can happen), wet your hands then keep kneading. The added moisture should help the dough come together. Knead it for about 5 minutes, until it’s looking a lot smoother. Wrap it in cling film while you make the pesto.
Add basil, parmesan, toasted nuts, lemon juice, garlic and a little salt to a food processor and blitz into a chunky paste. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to create a lovely pesto sauce.
Get a big pot of salted water boiling, then throw in the green beans. Unwrap the pasta dough, then use scissors to cut small strips off the dough, directly into the water. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, until the pasta is al dente (cooked, with a little bite to it).
Transfer straight from the pot to a small pan, then add a ladleful of pasta cooking water and a couple of heaped tablespoons of your pesto. Toss quickly to combine and coat the pasta and green beans in the sauce, then transfer to a plate and serve right away.
Got a question?
For this recipe, we only rest the dough for the time it takes to make the pesto, which is less than 15 minutes. Usually, you would let the dough rest so it’s easier to roll out (letting it rest allows the gluten to relax and the flour to fully hydrate), but because we don’t need to roll the dough out, it’s’ not necessary here. You can leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours though, or pop it into the fridge for up to 24 hours.
You can make the pasta dough up to 24 hours in advance and store it in the fridge (covered), and the pesto will keep well for about 10 days stored in the fridge. You can reheat the cooked pasta if you like, but you’ll lose the vibrant green colour of the pesto. You can also cut the pasta strips onto a baking paper lined tray, then cover it and leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours before cooking, or, you can freeze them. Cook them straight from frozen when you’re ready to serve.
Yes! Just replace the egg with 50g of water in the pasta dough, and use a vegan pesto (or just leave the parmesan out of the recipe below).
Really anything you like! Try it with creamy gochujang sauce, spicy harissa sauce, this baked burrata and tomato sauce, ‘nduja sauce, pink beet sauce, super spinach sauce or use it in carbonara. Or, use sun-dried tomato pesto, wild garlic pesto or spicy zhoug sauce.
Like this recipe? Here are more easy pasta ideas
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print