Mandilli di seta, “silk handkerchiefs” in Italian, are large sheets of fresh pasta, flat and glossy like lasagna sheets but rolled out even more thinly. In this elegant, rustic version, inspired by Da Laura restaurant in San Fruttuoso, the pasta is lightly coated with pesto and draped in layers atop the plate.
Somewhere on its path to global ubiquity, pesto became a catchall name for any random herby sauce thrown in a blender. Now Ligurians want it back
- 1 1⁄2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. 00 flour (250 g.), plus more as needed
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. white wine
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Pesto Genovese
- In a large bowl or on a clean work surface, sift the 00 flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, wine, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Using a fork, stir to combine, starting in the center and working your way outward. Use your hands to form a rough ball of dough.
- On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 10–15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 30 minutes.
- Generously flour a baking sheet and set it next to a work surface. Cut the dough into quarters. Lightly flour one of the dough pieces (cover the others with the plastic wrap and set aside). Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll out dough into very thin sheets (use either the second finest or finest setting on a pasta machine, or roll until the dough is almost translucent). Trim into 5-inch squares and set on the baking sheet.
- In a large, heatproof bowl, add the pesto. Set it near the stove.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Working in a few batches as needed to avoid crowding, add the pasta sheets and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. As the pieces finish cooking, carefully remove them with a spider or large slotted spoon and place in the bowl with the pesto.
- Once all the pasta is done cooking, transfer ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the bowl of pesto and gently toss the sheets in the pesto until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.