Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto

Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto

"Silk Handkerchiefs" with Pesto (Mandilli de Saea al Pesto Genovese)

The pasta squares called mandilli de saea, Genoese for "silk handkerchiefs" (for their size and thinness), are large, paper-thin egg-dough sheets that drape beautifully in the bowl, almost always dressed with pesto. The result is a kind of purity of pasta--certainly less complex than some other Genoese dishes, but with an elegance and grace not ordinarily associated with a plate of noodles. Like other Genoese set pieces, it seems wonderfully anachronistic--deliciously edible link with a fabled past.Christopher Hirsheimer

Mandilli de saea - the name is Genoese for silk handkerchiefs - are delicate, handkerchief-size sheets of pasta, typically tossed with pesto.