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Mama Deb
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Knives and Fire VII (Week 2)

Today's Entry
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Today was pasta and pasta sauces.

I did mise en place for the chef again. First, we made pasta - flour, eggs, oil and salt. Sift the flour, make a well in the center and add eggs one by one with the olive oil and the salt. When the eggs are all incorporated, mix the whole thing together and knead until soft but not sticky. Add more flour if necessary. Let rest covered in fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Cut off a piece (knife or bench scraper) and knead a bit with flour, and then run through a pasta machine set at the largest opening. Fold in thirds and run through again, and a third time. Then once through each setting to make the dough thinner. If it gets unmanageably long, cut in half. Once it's through the thinnest setting, run through a cutter to make fettucini or linguini or just cut into strips. Hang to dry.

To cook, put in boiling salted water for no more than 90 seconds. Then drain through a colander and mix with the sauce and plate. To plate, make sure plate is on a flat surface, and use tongs. Twist the pasta as you plate it so it looks neat and controlled. Garnish as desired.

I made pesto today. Pesto is basil, pine nuts, garlic, oil [parmegiano cheese] plus salt and pepper. We couldn't use the cheese, but we did use lemon. I set up the mise in place for the pesto for both Chef and myself. We used a food processor. Mine was slightly different than his because he had more fresh basil, and I used only basil preserved in oil. Since my leaves were so oily, I didn't bother adding more. He also over-processed the nuts a bit (easy to happen) so I knew to take a bit more care. Both were delicious and he ended up mixing them together and that was yummy.

He made pasta in pesto by adding a bit of pasta water to the pesto as he mixed it in. It looked really nice.

Other people made puttanesca, marinara and bolognesa sauce, and we'll do that again tomorrow.

This class was also unusual in that in the morning, the women made pasta and the men made sauces, and we switched in the afternoon (we're 5 and 5, so that works out.)

Also, I have decided I absolutely have to have more protein for breakfast. I was shaking by the time I left for lunch. The soymilk with my cereal isn't enough. I'll have cheese or eggs, too. Maybe cottage cheese or yogurt.

Comments

Passing out due to hunger while in a cooking class would be way too ironic.

Don't let it happen :)

It's interesting that fresh pasta needs less than 90 seconds of cooking time while the dry pasta one buys in a supermarket can take 11 minutes or more. I mean, I know it's dry, but I didn't realize it was *that* dry. :)