Silk Handkerchiefs, the Queen of Fresh Pasta

Handkerchief Pasta with Spring Veggies

Silk Handkerchief pasta or in the Genovese dialect Mandilli de Sea (Seta in Italian) are lovely floppy casual folds of delicate eggy fresh pasta draped on a plate.  They are also the easiest and quickest fresh pasta to make at home.  If you want to taste a template of how they should taste and you’re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles go to Factory Kitchen where Chef Angelo Auriana is making plate after plate of a version tinted green with spinach that’s been napped with a Ligurian Almond Basil Pesto.  Ever since I had them a few weeks ago, making the pasta has been in the back of my mind.

Last week I shared my recipe for Spring Vegetable Sauté with you.  I mentioned that it’s one of my Master Recipes, meaning that you can use it in many many dishes. I decided to feature it as the condiment and garnish of the “Handkerchiefs”  along with a slick of Pistachio Pesto.

To construct the dish is simple.  Make the Pistachio Pesto and set it aside.  Make the Mandilli.  When the dough is rolled out to the thickness you want cut it into 5 inch squares.

When you’re ready to serve and people are already sitting at the table munching on a first course (a plate of artichokes would be lovely), drop a few of the squares of pasta in salted boiling water.  Add a big spoonful of pesto to a mixing bowl.  Lighten it up with a small spoonful of pasta cooking water. When the first batch of pasta sheets  are done (in a matter of a couple of minutes) lift them out of the water with a skimmer or a slotted spoon.  Gently add them to the bowl of pesto and add a few spoonfuls of the Spring Vegetable Sauté.  Toss gently and turn them out of the bowl onto a platter.  Quickly do another batch and add those to the platter too.  Scatter some good grated parmesan over it all and bring it to the table.  Make people stop what they’re doing and immediately serve themselves. Eat the handkerchiefs feeling the bubble of gracious living you’ve generously created.

Repeat until it’s all gone.

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