A little over a week ago, Akemi and I attended a gelato-making class. Today, we took part part in a pasta-making class. Yes, we’re working our way backwards. Next week, who knows? Deviled eggs and pigs-in-a-blanket?
Being huge fans of Pasta Famiglia artisan pasta (available only at our local winter farmer’s market), we were thrilled to hear that owner Peter Ciuffa was offering a course in fresh pasta making. Given Peter’s passion for food, and pasta in particular, Akemi and I knew we were in for a treat.
For $45/person, we were given a hands-on demonstration of the pasta-making process that culminated in a sampling of our hard work, and enough take-home fettuccine and spaghettini for a couple of meals. I know, I know. Being Italian, I should know all about making pasta – and I do, up to a certain point. My mother used to make pasta all the time growing up – and still does. Unfortunately, as interesting as it looked, I was ultimately more focused in the end-product and so, never really pay that much attention to lead-up.
Today, I paid attention. Our instructors, Peter and his sister, Daniela, regaled us with stories of childhood kitchen adventures with their mother as part of a fun and informative afternoon.
We started with 200 grams of Type 00 Italian flour. After making a little well at the center of the flour, we add two farm fresh eggs, a pinch of salt, and started mixing with a fork – breaking the eggs and then, slowly but surely, incorporating the surrounding flour.
We mixed. And mixed. And mixed some more until our dough began to take shape – at which point we dusted our table top with flour, transferred the dough, and started the kneading process.
We kneaded. And kneaded. And kneaded some more. Eventually, my dough began to assume the smooth, silky texture we were looking for. Done! It was at this point that Akemi switched doughs on me. So I kneaded. And kneaded. And kneaded some more!
With our dough done, we allowed it to rest, covered, for 20-30 minutes while Peter and Daniela taught us one of their mother’s favorite pasta sauce recipes. Olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a tomato base were slowly cooked down while we redirected focus to the dough – cutting, shaping, and then feeding our pasta through the pasta machine’s rollers, working our way through the various settings which yielded an increasingly longer, increasingly thinner sheet.
Akemi and I were a well-oiled machine (much like the well-oiled pasta machine we were using). One of us fed the pasta into the rollers while the other cranked. Then, we switched. In no time, we had our sheets and then, it was onto the cutting. We had a choice of two settings – fettuccine or spaghettini – and elected to go with both. After dusting the freshly cut pasta, Akemi immediately went to work, laying it out so that the individual strands wouldn’t stick together –
With the sauce done, we all got to sample the fruits of our labor…
Wow. What a world of difference. From now on, I’m only eating home made pasta.
Provided Akemi has the time to make it.
Thanks to Peter and Daniela for a great afternoon (and even greater dinner!). My mother is already planning my Level 2 class: orecchiette and capundi!