January 27, 2018–What was I thinking!?!?
A few of my friends asked me to give them a class on making pasta. Actually, they wanted me to make the pasta while they watched then ate the pasta. Friends, right!
Making pasta is pretty straight forward. At its simplest all you need is flour, eggs, salt, a fork, a knife and a rolling pin. The overall intent of the class was to demonstrate how to make fresh egg pasta dough tool free then explain how to use today’s modern appliances and allow them to make their own dough and ravioli. Trying to make noodles, or heaven forbid ravioli, without tools requires A LOT of upper body strength and a lot of time. It is 2018 so we used some modern manual and automatic appliances to make the process easier and faster.To further decrease the time I set up everyone’s mise en place (everything in its place) which included all of the recipes for the pasta we would be making, an apron they could take home and all of the ingredients (10 ounces (2 cups) of All Purpose flour, 2 whole eggs, 4 egg yolks, and 1 tsp of salt). Thanks Niki from Serious Eats for her recipes and her blog on The Science of Fresh Pasta.I started with the method that we’ve all seen on TV or in magazines. Dump your flour on a surface, make a well in the center then add your eggs and salt.I then mixed the flour into the eggs, combing everything until it held together, then kneading it until it felt like play-doh.I cut the dough into quarters, flattened it with a rolling pin, then put it through the rollers of pasta machine, decreasing the width of the roller as I passed the dough through. Since we would be making ravioli that would be filled with either a ricotta cheese or mushroom filling, we wanted the sheets to be very thin.We could have laid this sheet on our surface, dropped about a teaspoon to a tablespoon (depending on the size of ravioli you want) of our fillings about an inch apart, dab with your finger or brush a little water or egg wash around each filling (this serves as a glue), cover it with the other half of the dough, remove all of the air then use one of the rollers or stamps to cut them out. Whew! I’m out of breadth just typing that.
Instead I used the pasta mold you see in one of the earlier pictures. There are many different sizes and shapes. This particular mold allowed me to turn out 12 ravioli in a few minutes. Place the dough over the mold, make some small indentions with your fingers, fill with your filling, brush edges with water or egg wash, cover it with the other half of the dough, then use a rolling pin to remove the air and cut the ravioli.The top six are filled with the ricotta cheese filling and the bottom six are filled with the mushroom filling. I used the ‘scrap’ dough that was remaining after I cut the ravioli to demonstrate how to make tortellini (you can just make it out in the bottom left of the picture on the right). You can continue to re-roll and reuse your ‘scarp’ pasta dough but you want to work fast because it will dry out. I usually use mine to make fettuccine by re-rooling to one setting wider than you would use for making ravioli on the pasta roller then passing it through the cutter on the pasta machine.Tortellini are time intensive because you have to cut the squares, fill the squares, make triangle, roll the triangle, then form the triangle into a circle. They look pretty but like I said, they take some time to make. The video below is a quick example of how I made the one above.
Now that they had seen the process I randomly selected a team to make a spinach based pasta dough while the other team would make a plain dough. One of the beauties of making your own pasta dough is you can add different flavorings directly to the dough. I normally put freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese directly into the flour/egg mixture so that you have the taste of cheese in every bite. There are numerous sites with recipes for adding flavors to your dough. I recommend using a food processor if you go this route because it can be very difficult to evenly distribute the ingredient into the dough by hand.
Team 1 (Mel and Leah) made the dough by hand:Someone has had a little too much to drink. Oh, wait, is that even possible 🙂
Back to work you two!!!Team 2 (Karen and Tanya) used the food processor to incorporate the 10 ounces of spinach into the flour/egg mixture to make a spinach flavored pasta. They used the manual roller and the KitchenAid attachment roller.
At the end of the class I presented everyone with a Certificate of Completion.We then set down to an amazing meal. Karen made some Italian sausages, meatballs, and a salad. She also have three sauces for our raviolis: fresh tomato sauce, vodka sauce, and a gorgonzola bacon sauce–Mmmmm! We finished the night off with a tiramisu she made the night before. We also enjoyed Prosecco while cooking and had a VERY EXPENSIVE bottle of wine (Château Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite Pauillac bottled in 2000).
I want to thank Karen for opening up her home and agreeing to host these delinquents and Mel for the amazing photos and videos documenting the class.
I think everyone had a great time especially since they’re trying to figure out what kind of class I can teach next. Umm, not with this group. I’m outta here….