Friday, November 4, 2011

Making Pasta

I was invited to take a class at the Institute for Culinary Education, and after browsing various options, decided on a pasta and sauce making course. I love a good fresh pasta, and am a total sucker for the process.

It was a grey, wet day, but I was energized to cook! Our chef instructor reviewed several pasta variations we would attempt as groups: a saffron-based dough, a whole wheat version, and one formed using spinach (or other similar greens). We were also going to create sauces to accompany these delicious noodles: a fresh tomato sauce (and another, with the addition of meat), an alfredo, a fresh herb-style, a Bolognese, and a roasted pepper-cream sauce.

We made our way into smaller groups and Chef Loren demonstrated each process to insure a success of our efforts. After all, we were going to eat the results.... :) I had so much fun photographing everything, I had to remind myself to stop and actually perform each process so that they would gel for later (in real life!). I hope you all enjoy the photographs.  Note: you can click on each series to see them larger! It's worth it.

Measuring flour and making a well

Incorporating the egg into the flour, bit by bit

Incorporating the mixture using a bench scraper, then by hand

Loren describing the gluten network

kneading and forming the dough
Porcinis and pancetta, starting out the Bolognese sauce
The three groups made dough using different means - my group made the saffron dough using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer. Not my favorite way. Chef agreed that it was tedious, and volunteered that his preferred way to make the dough was by using a food processor. I was sold.

He also showed us how to roll the dough out, first using a stand mixer attachment (easy-peasy), as well as a hand-roller. I asked about using a rolling pin as I don't own either, and in his dry wit, complete with a raised eyebrow, explained that that is the traditional way to do it, but to be prepared for a lot of work. Ah well, challenge is my middle name....?

Making tagliatelle
This goddess was framed on the wall; the Bolognese shaping up

Ravioli demo

The stand mixer slowly bringing the saffron dough together; a nice photo of me looking like I know what I'm doing :)

Loren shaping tortellino

A humerous moment talking about navels - the namesake for this great pasta~!

Finishing up, time to feast
It was an ambitious list and we did not get to it all. Everyone was focused, however, and some truly delightful dishes were created through the learning process. Nothing like a glass of wine in the afternoon, accompanying food that you toiled and scrambled to make!

I was happily surprised by how delicious it all was. YUM. As a result, I am definitely going to invest in a proper pasta roller to make experimenting at home a real option. There is nothing quite like fresh pasta and its sauce. Thank you for joining me in this adventure!