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'Check, Please! Bay Area' Presents: a Mano's Handmade Tagliatelle al Pesto Genovese

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Chef Freedom Rains from San Francisco's a Mano shares a simple pasta dough recipe that yields ribbons of eggy tagliatelle. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)

More Check, Please! Recipes To Try


In Hayes Valley, a Mano is renowned for its pasta, made "by hand." Featured on this week’s upcoming episode of Check, Please! Bay Area, this eatery prides itself on marrying California ingredients with traditional Italian techniques in an accessible, welcoming environment. To bring the experience into your home kitchen, Chef Freedom Rains, formerly of Flour + Water and Boulevard, shares a recipe he's been making with his daughter during shelter-in-place.

You only need four ingredients to craft handmade pasta at home. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)

Making pasta by hand is an intimidating proposition to many home cooks, but Chef Rains offers a straightforward approach that yields thick ribbon noodles. The fresh, eggy tagliatelle pairs well with his improvisational take on Genovese pesto. In lieu of the basil traditionally used in Genoa, Chef Rains swaps in kale from his County Line Harvest CSA box. This simple dish is both a well-suited project for the slow days of shelter-in-place and a serendipitous illustration of a Mano's guiding philosophy: California cooking, influenced by Italy.

CSA Box Inspiration

Tagliatelle al Pesto Genovese

Serves 4


Pasta Dough

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150g 00 pasta flour
  • 5g water
  • 10g extra virgin olive oil

Kale Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch kale
  • 100g grated parmagiano
  • 105g extra virgin olive oil

Making the pasta:

  1. Place flour on a clean workspace. Gather into a pile and create a well on the top.
  2. Place egg yolks, water, and oil in center. Mix to gradually incorporate with surrounding flour.
  3. Form dough into a ball. It should be smooth. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  4.  Roll out dough with a rolling pin and feed through pasta machine until you reach a uniformly thin sheet. Cut into thick strips.
Create a well in your flour pile to contain the egg, oil, and water. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)
Pasta dough should be smooth and supple, with no dry spots. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)
After 30 minutes of rest, you can pre-roll your dough to feed through a pasta machine. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)
Feed pasta dough through a pasta machine until you reach a thin sheet. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)

Adding the pesto:

  1. Blanch kale until soft.
  2. Puree with parmaigano, garlic, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cook pasta in salted water (about 10g salt per liter of water) until al dente. (Remember, fresh pasta cooks much faster than pantry pasta!)
  4. Toss pasta in a sauté pan with pasta cooking water and pesto.
  5. Add parmaigiano on top and enjoy!
Like Chef Rains, you can combine classic technique and improvisational inspiration from your CSA box. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)
By blanching the kale (briefly cooking and submerging into an ice bath), the pesto ends up with a vibrant green color.. (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)
No fresh pasta dish is complete without grated parmagiano! (Courtesy of Freedom Rains)

Tune in to watch the Check, Please! Bay Area episode featuring a Mano as well as Mahila and Le Paradis, this Thursday at 7:30pm on KQED 9.

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