Thursday, August 23, 2012

Handmade Pasta Class

After cooking and eating together for seven years Nick and I decided to take our first cooking class. Have you guys ever done something like that? The night was a wedding anniversary gift to ourselves and now I'm addicted. I want to sign up for the kombucha workshop, cheese making, canning...

Our teacher was The Kitchen Porch and we learned how to make a basic egg pasta dough, garganelli (hand rolled pasta), tortellini (stuffed pasta), pici pasta (long handmade pasta), matagliati (cut pasta), and orrechietti (no knife pasta) at home.

Watch out Vineyard winter, we are planning on drowning you in homemade pasta...

Here are the super simple and totally delicious egg pasta and pesto recipes Jan and Aaron shared with us. Don't be scared - dive in. And it's only eggs and flour so don't feel bad if you have to try a few times to get it right.

Pasta All ‘Uovo (Fresh Egg Pasta)

300 g all-purpose flour
4 whole organic eggs
10 ml. extra virgin olive oil

1. We learned the traditional well method but using a food processor is super easy. Starting with the flour, put the flour, eggs and oil in the bowl of the food processor. Process until the dough forms a ball, and is no longer sticky when touched with clean fingers. If necessary, process in more flour a little at a time.

2. Dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and knead for
approximately 5 minutes, until the texture is smooth, silky and elastic.

3. Divide the dough into 2 balls, sprinkle with flour and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30

4. To roll the dough: Dust a work surface with flour, cut on of the dough balls in half and dust
the dough with flour. With the pasta machine set on the widest setting, roll the dough through
the machine. Fold the dough strip in half and roll it through the machine again. Do this 2 or 3
more times dusting the pasta with flour if it gets sticky. Set the strip aside and repeat with the
remaining dough.

5. Adjust the machine to the next widest setting and roll the dough strips through the machine
again the same way twice more.

6. Continue rolling the dough strips through the machine, dusting with flour and making the
opening on the pasta maker smaller each time. Until the desired thickness.

Once you've made pasta sheets you can then:

1. Cut the pasta strips into small squares and roll them over a small wooden dowel to make tiny tubes (see images above)

2. Pull off dime size balls, roll them into snakes, twist to form a rope (see photo below and pesto photo at end)

3. Run dough through pasta machine to make a long noodle

4. Use the long, just rolled sheets, to form ravioli by piping a filling in small circles equal distance apart along the upper half, fold the sheet up onto itself, seal edges with water, press fingers around filling to form individual seals, cut and crimp with a fork (sorry I don't have better images to show this...we were having too much fun and concentrating hard!)

Pesto (Basil)

30 grams pine nuts
10 grams garlic
125 grams basil leaves
35 grams Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
15 grams of grated Pecorino Romano
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
salt (kosher)

1. Put the pine nuts and garlic in the food processor and process to chop fine
2. Add the basil and process to chop fine
3. Process in the cheeses
4. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify then season with salt

Things I learned:

-Cooking with the metric system (grams etc.) isn't as hard as I thought and it is more exact. Just need to invest in a digital scale.

-Pesto is meant to be a paste, not a very wet sauce - for maximum flavor use little salt, and little
oil. Tastes best at room temperature, not straight from the fridge.

-Thicker/heavy sauces (pesto, meat) do best on short pasta (doesn't clump, fills the nooks and crannies) and lighter/thin sauces do best on long pasta (coats evenly, doesn't clump into scary ball).

-Cook fresh pasta really quickly, only 1-2 minutes.

-Use a lot of flour in dusting, kneading, forming pasta.

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