Silk handkerchief pasta is the easiest homemade pasta shape to make. Pasta squares, known as fazzoletti, fold like silk to catch pools of sauce. Serve with a simple basil pesto or butter sauce for the easiest and most impressive looking fresh pasta dish.
Hello! So, handkerchief pasta is honestly one of my most favourite things. Do you know why? Because it's the MOST amount of pasta you could possibly eat! It really lets the texture of the pasta shine and I am obsessed with the way it falls in fabric like folds on the plate.
I am going to show you two different versions, one long handkerchief pasta that you fold in half with a filling in between and shorter pasta squares.
What is handkerchief pasta?
Handkerchief pasta is simply flat sheets of pasta like you would find in a lasagne. Instead of cutting into noodles like pappardelle or fettuccine they are kept as flat sheets, often cut into squares.
It's a really unique and delicious way to serve pasta not to mention SO easy as there is hardly any technique involved. If you don't feel like making pasta from scratch you could use store bought lasagne sheets, fresh or dried ones.
What you will need:
Flour - I use a combination of two types of flour, '00' flour and semola rimacinata, which is a very finely milled semolina flour. You can just use all '00' though and all purpose flour works fine too.
Room Temperature Eggs - I learnt early on in my pasta making journey when reading Evan Funke's cookbook that weighing your eggs is the best method. Eggs vary in size so much so by weighing them you reduce any risk of a dough that is either too wet or too dry. I put a bowl on my scales then crack the eggs in until I get the weight I need.
Scales - There is absolutely no way you can make pasta without scales. I weigh the flour AND the eggs which ensures a perfect pasta dough every time, no guess work.
Pasta Machine - You can roll out a sheet of pasta with a rolling pin but it is very hard. I use a marcato roller and I also have the kitchen aid pasta roller attachment.
Wooden cutting board - Pasta is always best cut on wooden boards.
Plastic wrap - fresh pasta dough needs to be tightly wrapped at all times.
A sharp knife - To cut the dough ball and edges of sheets. You could also use a pizza cutter or a fluted pasta wheel.
Homemade fresh pasta dough
To make handkerchief pasta you need the perfect dough as the texture of the pasta is going to really shine through. You will use my easy homemade pasta dough, I promise you, it is perfect! You can make the dough in a food processor to make it really quick.
In the recipe I have a comprehensive step-by-step guide on rolling the perfect pasta sheets. My secret for silky sheets is to roll to setting 5 (on a marcato pasta machine) then fold it up and start again from the beginning. Rolling the dough twice makes a HUGE difference to the texture.
Cutting the sheets
There are two options here. Firstly you can cut into long sheets and put a filling in the middle or secondly into squares.
Long handkerchief sheets
This is a really fun way to serve a meat sauce. Use my white pork ragu, best bolognese sauce or beef cheek ragu. Boil in large sheets then lay flat on the plate, put the filling on then fold the top layer over. I like to drizzle the top with a little melted butter (brown butter is even better!) I cut them 15cm x 30xm (6 inches x 11 - 12 inches).
Squares are a lovely way to go as they fold like fabric and create a beautiful look on the plate. I cut them in 15 x 15 squares (6 inches) and it is fun to cut the edges with a fluted wheel but a normal straight edge is great too! Serve around 4 per person.
Storing before cooking
As you roll and cut the sheets, layer them up on a baking tray with parchment paper in between each layer. They are fine to sit out for an hour or so but any longer you might want to freeze. Put the tray open in the freezer until frozen then transfer the squares into an airtight container and cook from frozen.
Tips for cooking
- Use a really big pot to boil so the pasta has enough room to move around.
- When you see them fold and curl in the water, don't stress! They won't stick together.
- For the square shapes, when you transfer into the sauce don't worry about them folding up, that is what you want to happen. They will naturally fold how they want to, they sort of do the work for you.
- Heat your plates! One of my biggest pasta tips always. Especially if using the long rectangle shape you want a nice warm plate so it doesn't get cold. Keep plates in a warm oven while you are cooking.
What sauce is best for handkerchief pasta?
As I mentioned above if you want to do a long folded pasta then use a meat sauce like my white pork ragu or best bolognese. For the square shapes use my guide for the best butter sauce for pasta or a simple fresh basil pesto.
Some other pasta techniques to try
if you loved making handkerchief pasta then you're all set to try some other pasta shapes. Homemade pappardelle is one of my favourites and is really easy and quick to make. If you are ready for a bit more of a challenge then you could tackle ravioli with my guide to easy homemade ravioli.
It is a little to do with personal preference. I roll to setting 6 on my marcato pasta maker or setting 7 on my kitchen aid pasta attachment.
You need to use a really big pot so they have room to move around. They will fold up in the water which is totally fine. They won't stick together.
Absolutely! Probably easier to freeze the square shapes unless you have a long enough container for the rectangle ones. Freeze them layered up on a baking tray with parchment paper in between then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. Cook from frozen.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print