One of my favorite ways to usher in springtime is with herb-laminated pasta—that is, pasta embedded with fresh herbs. “Lamination” is a term more commonly associated with pastry, referring to the process of folding butter into layers of dough. Herb-lamination is more of a modern technique in pasta-making, and you’ll occasionally see it in cracker-like flatbreads, too. Best of all? Not only is this pasta stunning to look at, it’s also completely customizable to your preferences, and much simpler to make than it looks.
When it comes to sauces, I often keep it simple with butter and Parmesan or a simple pesto so the herbs take center stage. This time I’ve paired it with delicate shallots, bright white wine, and creamy crème fraîche—which always keeps me coming back for more. The crunchy chickpeas are technically a topping for the pasta, but also are the perfect pasta-making snack, so you might want to double that part of the recipe. (By the way, this sauce will work great with any long pasta, whether it’s fresh or from a box).
A few notes:
- I used a mix of sage, parsley, mint, stripped thyme, and small basil leaves here (any tough stems trimmed), but don’t hesitate to choose your favorites (dill, marjoram, and edible flowers work, too!). Once cooked, the flavors will be subtle, so almost anything goes. Skip firmer herbs like rosemary, which could puncture the pasta during the lamination process.
- I recommend sticking with small- or medium-sized herb leaves to prevent tears in the dough (especially important if you’re making filled pastas with this technique). Large leaves also contain more moisture that can be released during the rolling process—I’ve had basil juice on my face more than a couple of times.
- Herb-laminated pasta can certainly be made by hand, but a pasta machine is helpful for this recipe. Also, the herbs will stretch as the pasta rolls out (see process images for a clearer visual example), so know that the finished design will be an elongated version of your original.
- I prefer to keep the pasta shape simple (like this pappardelle) to showcase the herbs, but these pasta sheets can be used to make any of your favorite egg-based shapes, from farfalle to ravioli. —Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club
- Prep time 2 hours
- Cook time 45 minutes
- Serves 2-4
- Herb-Laminated Pasta
(2 1/2 cups) '00' soft wheat or all-purpose flour
(1/4 cup) semolina or semola rimacinata flour (if unavailable, substitute with the same weight of ‘00’ or all-purpose)
lightly beaten eggs (approximately 4 large eggs)
Handful assorted tender herbs, leaves only (see headnote)
- Sauce & Chickpea Topping
15-ounce can (440 grams or 1 1/2 cups) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
lemon zest (from about 1/2 lemon)
(1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves, minced
large shallot, minced
(1/2 cup) dry white wine
(1/2 cup) vegetable stock
(1/3 cup) crème fraîche
(1/3 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Handful herbs (same as used in the pasta), for serving
- Herb-Laminated Pasta
To make the pasta dough by hand:
Make the pasta dough by hand according to this “well-method” technique.
To make the pasta dough in a food processor:Add the flour and eggs to the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade attachment. Pulse together until beads of dough (roughly the size of couscous) start to form, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a flat, ideally wooden, surface, combine it into a mass and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and firm.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. While the dough rests, roast the chickpeas (see second part of recipe).
- Herb-laminate the pasta:After the pasta has rested, line a tray or baking sheet pan with semolina flour, cornmeal, or a dry dish towel and keep it nearby.
- Cut off a quarter of the pasta dough and re-wrap the remaining dough immediately.
If using a pasta machine: Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Set the pasta machine to its thickest setting and roll the dough through once (it will be tapered at the ends). Fold both ends into the center like an envelope, so the width of the pasta sheet is similar in width to the pasta roller. Roll the dough through the thickest setting once more so the result is an even rectangle.
Continue rolling the pasta sheet through the machine one time on each progressive setting until you have a semi-thin sheet (about setting 5 or 6 on a Marcato Atlas 150 manual roller or KitchenAid attachment). If the dough is at all sticky as it goes through the machine, dust both sides with a light layer of ‘00’ or all-purpose flour.
If rolling by hand: Roll the portion of dough with a rolling pin into as thin a rectangle as possible—it’s a workout! While you’re aiming for about a millimeter thick, don’t stress and do the best you can.
- Once you have a long, thin sheet of pasta (either rolled out by hand or in a pasta machine), lay it on a wooden surface and trim uneven edges (ball up the scraps and wrap them in plastic to rehydrate—they can be re-rolled at the end.) If you don’t have a wooden surface, dust a little flour on the bottom of the pasta sheet and your countertop to prevent sticking.
- Cut the sheet of dough in half crosswise so you have two even pieces. Cover one of the sheets with a damp dish towel and set it aside.
- If the sheet you’re working with feels very dry, brush or spray it with a very small amount of water. Arrange the herbs across it in your preferred design.
- Next, gently lay the second sheet of dough on top of the herbs (you basically have an herb sandwich). Press down gently and smooth out the top so there are no trapped air bubbles.
- Trim the edges of the combined sheets on both sides, lengthwise, to seal the two together. It should now be slightly narrower than the width of the pasta machine. Dust both sides of the pasta with a little bit of ‘00’ or all-purpose flour.
If using a pasta machine: set the dial to one setting wider than where you were before (so if you left off on setting 6, go back to setting 5). Roll the sheet through once. Then, set the dial to your original setting and roll it through again. Finally, roll it through one setting thinner than it was originally (so if you first rolled the sheet to 6, now you’re on 7). You should be left with beautifully printed pasta!
If rolling by hand: roll the newly formed sheet as thin as possible until you can see the herbs peeking through. Try to be a bit gentle so the herbs stretch but don’t bruise. If any moisture from the herbs is making the dough sticky, dust it with a bit of flour.
If the sheet is very long, cut it in half crosswise. If you have time, allow it to dry for a few minutes per side (this will help prevent sticking while you work with the rest of the dough). For pappardelle, cut the sheet into about 1-inch ribbons and arrange them across the baking sheet. Make sure to dust a little semolina flour or cornmeal between each piece if you need to stack them.
Repeat the process with the remaining dough. Any herb-laminated pasta scraps are a perfect snack, and they can also be frozen (see below) and used in soups.
Note: For longer-term storage, allow the pasta sheet to dry for about 10 minutes on each side before cutting. Once cut, dust each ribbon with semolina flour or cornmeal—particularly around any herb-heavy areas—and layer them in stacks. Freeze the stacks until the strips are solid, about 25 minutes, then transfer them to a large freezer bag (they’ll last up to a couple of months). Cook straight from frozen.
- Sauce & Chickpea Topping
Make the roasted chickpeas: Heat the oven to 425°F.
Pat the chickpeas dry with a dish towel, then place them on a sheet pan. Remove any loose skins, then toss them with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
Roast the chickpeas until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Remove chickpeas from the oven and stir in the lemon zest. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and set aside
Make the sauce and cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, no more than 1 minute.
Increase the heat to medium-high and pour in the wine. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes more.
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the crème fraîche until the mixture is smooth. Continue to simmer the sauce over low heat until it’s slightly thickened and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes, while you cook the pasta.
Salt the pasta water. Gently shake off any semolina flour or cornmeal from the pappardelle and drop it in the water. Stir for a few seconds to prevent sticking.
When the pasta is cooked to your liking (taste occasionally to check for doneness), use tongs or a spider to transfer it directly to the sauce. Add about 3/4 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano (reserving the rest for serving). Toss to combine and cook for another minute, tossing frequently. Loosen the sauce to your desired texture with a spoonful or two of pasta water as needed.
Divide the pappardelle between bowls. Finish with a handful of crispy chickpeas, more fresh herbs (mint is my preference), and another sprinkle of cheese.