Use up the last of your fresh basil before summer comes to an end with Homemade Basil Farfalle! This little butterfly-shaped pasta is packed with finely chopped basil leaves perfect for pairing with your favorite tomato or cream-based sauce.
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Farfalle was always my favorite pasta shape growing up and is an especially fun shape to teach to children. Farfalle, often known as bowtie, translates to butterflies in Italian. It is a fairly easy pasta shape to make, but does take a little time to form each individual piece by hand. I had a bit of basil to use up before the plants finish out their season so I incorporated them directly into the dough. Want to add even more flavor? Toss a garlic clove or two into the food processor with the fresh basil leaves before adding the rest of the ingredients.
I had the help of a food processor and pasta machine to make the Homemade Basil Farfalle, but everything can also be made by hand. If not using a food processor, finely chop the basil leaves before combining with the flour and the remaining ingredients to form a ball of pasta. The dough is then kneaded on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic before covering with a towel or plastic wrap and allowing to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
After resting, divide the dough into four equal pieces, leaving one out and covering the rest. Either use the pasta machine or a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin sheet, about 1/16th inch thick. I actually like to roll the pasta to the second to last setting when making farfalle to keep them just a little thicker. Use flour as needed to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Cut the thin sheet of dough into rectangles about 1 1/2 inch x 1 inch using the straight or crimped edge of a pastry or pizza wheel. You can make the Farfalle larger (Farfallone) or smaller (Farfalline) by adjusting the size of the rectangles. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the center of the long edges of the rectangle together. Repeat with remaining rectangles. Place the Farfalle in a single layer on large work surface or baking sheet and allow to dry for an hour before boiling.
If you don’t want to boil the farfalle right away, the dried shapes can be transferred to an airtight, freezer safe bag and frozen for up to 3 months.
We like to pair the Homemade Basil Farfalle simply with a fresh tomato sauce and grated Parmesan, but many tomato and cream-based sauces will work well. You can even make the farfalle into the mini Farfalline to add to soup.
Homemade Basil Farfalle Recipe
Adapted from Taste of Home August & September 2008- Janine Colasurdo
Homemade Basil Farfalle
- 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil leaves and flour. Process until the basil leaves are finely chopped and incorporated.
- Add the eggs, flour, and olive oil. Process and slowly add the water as needed just until dough comes together.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Place one on floured work surface and cover the remainder.
- Roll the dough into a thin sheet using a pasta machine or rolling pin, until it is about 1/16th inch thick. Cut into desired shape. To make farfalle: slice the pasta sheet into 1 1/2 by 1 inch rectangles. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the long edges together to form a bow. Repeat with remaining rectangles, then remaining pieces of dough. Arrange the pasta in a single layer on baking sheet or work surface and allow to dry for 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta in batches, careful not to overcrowd, and boil until they rise to the surface. Remove to a colander and drain.
- Serve immediately with desired sauce.