Hand-Cut Pappardelle with Spinach and Basil Cream Sauce


Photo by Michael Piazza

Reducing heavy cream enriches this sauce made from very simple and inexpensive ingredients. Wide-cut egg pappardelle swirl in a tangle of garlicky thick cream, spinach, basil and green onions, loosened with a ladleful of seasoned cooking water. Add lemon zest for brightness, if you like.

Serves 4–6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, grated
½ cup chopped fresh chives, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces basil leaves, minced
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 recipe
fresh pasta dough, rolled and hand-cut into pappardelle (¾-inch-wide noodles)
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
grated lemon zest, for serving (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea.

In a wide skillet, melt the butter and add the scallions, garlic and half the chives. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 2–3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer; watch it carefully as the cream could boil and bubble over. Let the cream reduce, stirring occasionally, until thickened and almost separated, like a paste at the bottom of the pan. Add the basil and stir to combine.

When ready to cook, add the pappardelle to the boiling salted water and cook until they float, 1–2 minutes. Using tongs, lift the pasta into the skillet of cream along with some of its cooking water, swirl the noodles in the sauce and add the chopped spinach. Add ½ cup Parmigiano, stir to coat, adding more cooking water if the sauce seems dry, then portion the pasta into warmed shallow bowls.

Serve with the remaining chives, Parmigiano and optional lemon zest at the table.

This recipe appeared in the Spring 2019 issue as part of a larger story on fresh pasta and kids cooking.