Julie's Mother's Day Pasta

We asked one of our mom crushes, Julie O'Rourke, the Maine-based founder of cult clothing label Rudy Jude, to share a recipe she loves to make for herself (and for her children). Few people are as inspirational to us as Julie — she does it all: runs a sustainable, plant-dyed clothing brand, is a mother of two amazing boys (with a third baby on the way), and still finds time to cook beautiful food, and put her craft skills to endlessly creative uses. Following her on Instagram is a joy.

A recipe (in story form) from Julie...

"I’m not a prolific chef by any means, but what I lack in skill I do make up for with a lot of curiosity, a deep appreciation for plants and flavors, and a knack for a nice looking plate arrangement. I also have a small crew of very capable and confident young people around me who love to explore our woods, our yard, and our kitchen. Motherhood opened a door for me when it came to eating, cooking and gathering ingredients, one that didn’t just come ajar out of necessity like it used to: to fill my belly just enough to get me through late nights sewing. Motherhood became a place so full of excitement and abundance, with the new challenge of keeping small bellies full and balanced, and small minds engaged with food and nature.

In the spring we make pasta, a lot of pasta. We do it mostly because it's fun to do together, and on the spring evenings that seem to stretch on and on, it gives us a welcome activity to get through the afternoon plus a satisfying dinner we all love as a reward. The other reason is because pasta is the perfect backdrop for all the early spring plants that start popping their heads up in early May. For us, right outside our door, May brings violets, sorrel, and dandelion and, deeper into the woods, wild ramps will have arrived and the beginnings of nettles and fiddleheads. All of these plants feel like incredibly valuable gifts after our long winter and pasta is just the place to incorporate their flavors and colors in simple and delightful ways.

We have a small collection of cookbooks and cooking tools that were passed down to my husband Anthony from his dad, each still with notes in between their pages or tools still nestled in their original boxes waiting to be used. We’ve found that our most reached-for spring/summer book from his collection is, funnily enough, one of Permanent Collection founder, Fanny’s Mom’s early books, Chez Panisse; Pasta, Pizza, and Calzones. We love this book for its simple and seasonal pasta and pizza recipes but also that it's more of a jumping off point for making simple dishes with fresh ingredients. I barely ever follow the recipes but use it more as an inspiration for putting together meals with the things I have outside.

I do however use the simple basic dough recipe mostly to a T. It's perfect once you do it enough to know what  perfect is, and that is alluded to in the recipe. We’ve been making this pasta for a few years and so I’ll add here what I have learned just in case it helps you:

1. Pasta dough is a lot dryer than I ever anticipated

2. its hard to work, but it's forgiving

3. Adding too much water will make it impossible to get as thin as you want it, but wet pasta dough, dimply and imperfect will in fact still taste delicious, so don’t give up on it!

4. On a trip to Italy, under the watchful eye of Chef Ugo, I learned that you want to work the dough with your fingertips, not really your palms which feels incredibly difficult to me as my American instinct is to really pound it into submission.... but that’s not it, it’s a gentle process and that’s always good practice

5. Last thing is (and I learned this from Chef Ugo as well) is that when you’re making ravioli, always make Tagliatelle from your scraps. Tagliatelle is best made with a worked dough, while other pastas need a less worked dough. So today, in honor of Mothers Day, I’ve made fresh, tender dough ravioli for myself and scrap tagliatelle for everyone else, Happy Mother’s Day!


Basic Pasta Dough (by Alice Waters, Chez Panisse: Pasta, Pizza & Calzone, p. 9):


1 cup unbleached all-purpose Flour

A little salt

1 egg

A little water, if necessary


Start with good quality flour. Put in bowl with salt and make a well in center. Add beaten egg and working with the fingertips, begin to blend flour and egg from the center out, gradually gathering the flour from the sides. Mix the flour and the egg, getting the particles next to each other without actually working or kneading the dough. When you have the flour and egg mixed, add a few drops of water and begin to bring it all together in a mass. Turn it out on a table and begin to knead. It will take several minutes to produce a very firm, smooth, strong dough. The amount of moisture in the dough is the most critical element: this varies according to the size of the egg and the type of flour. As the dough comes together, decide whether a little water is needed, or whether it is too soft and requires a little more flour. Do this at the beginning, because the dough will resist the addition of flour or water after you really begin working it. It is better if the dough is on the dry side, making it necessary to to add a few sprinklings of water as you knead, than to try and incorporate more flour into dough that is too soft. When you have the right amount of moisture in the dough - and experience will teach you what that is – knead the paste for 10 to 15 minutes, then cover it to prevent a dry skin from forming and let it rest at least 45 minutes before rolling and cutting.


I usually start with this base pasta recipe, this time I had mostly whole wheat flour and so I added that plus enough all purpose four to equal the amount I needed, I doubled the recipe for the four of us so the flours combined equaled 2 cups.

I turned maybe a 1/4th of this recipe into ravioli that follows for lunch for myself while I cut the remainder of the dough into tagliatelle for dinner.

While I waited for my dough to rest I mixed my filling and gathered my garnish ingredients from outside: violets, dandelion heads, baby sorrel.


Ravioli Filling:

Big spoonful ricotta

1 egg

Zest of half a lemon

Handful of washed wild ramps, cut small

Handful of washed wild sorrel, cut small

Salt to taste


I really just guess on volume of ingredients and I do taste it quite a bit as I go. The ramps and sorrel could be subbed with any sort of green leafy or herby thing and I’m sure it would be just as good.

I rolled my dough out to the thinnest setting with Anthony’s dad's pasta maker, then pressed it into his ravioli molds (that I have never used before), thankfully the directions were on the box because I messed it up the first time thinking I knew what I was doing.

At this point you absolutely do not need the tools, you could do this all by hand which would take a bit longer but sometimes the good stuff just does. Hand-cut ravioli, to me is just the crème de la crème.

As I prepped the pasta, I had water boiling, heavily salted. At rolling boil, I dropped in my ravioli and watched until they floated to the top and then made sure to flip them with the end of my spoon because that seemed like the thing to do. I removed them with a slotted spoon and laid them gently in my bowl, garnished with lemon zest, violets, little yellow petals of the dandelion heads, a little salt and a generous pour of olive oil.

I sat over my pasta mess and ate each ravioli with all the joy that a quiet midday meal should bring. It’s like reading a good book in the afternoon with all the doors open, or going on a long walk alone and being able to hear peepers peeping and watching leaves just emerge from the trees. As a mom of young kids, I crave the luxuriousness of the solitude of these particular moments.

After eating, I piled my dry dough scraps and forced them through the pasta rollers on the widest setting, folding the dough and pushing it through again and again until it clung to itself once again. At this point I rolled it to the thinnest setting and then through the tagliatelle cutter. I took the pasta and tossed it in flour on a tray and covered it with a towel for dinner.

I tidied as best as I could but left the dishes for Anthony.

In the evening we boiled the tagliatelle until tender and my son Rui helped me sauté some asparagus and ramps. We piled on the same garnishes as before plus some extra fresh sorrel and finished with a dollop of ricotta.

This meal was louder than lunch, and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you there were some tears about the ricotta touching the noodles and that I left the table toward the end of the meal to take a deep breath outside to take a moment to remember that I did in fact get to enjoy this earlier on my own and it felt like a such a treat, and as I filled my mouth with my last bite of noodles, sitting on the cold granite rock outside our front door, my other son Diogo poked his head out and said very tenderly “Thank you for cooking, it was delicious.”