Sunday, July 13, 2014

Awesome: Day 13

Today was totally awesome. Of course, I use the word awesome a lot, but sometimes there just are no other words to describe an event or situation. Today's awesomeness included pairing up with my "seemed like a good idea at the time" friend, Melissa, and heading to Cooking Fools for a pasta making class. 

Upon arrival, we washed our hands, donned our aprons and were instructed to measure out 3.5 ounces of each, Semolina and white flour. Okay, so my ingredients were more like 4 ounces of Semolina and heaven only knows how much white flour, but hey, I like to color (and measure) outside the lines, apparently! Flour and eggs in tow, we headed to our prep stations and awaited farther instructions. 

Our chef began the dough making demo and it seemed "easy" enough, but could pasta making really be an easy thing? I mean, after all, there are so many expensive gadgets and pasta making utensils that it MUST be difficult, right? I mean, little old Italian women spend days in the kitchen perfecting their cuisines! Pasta making can't be simple.Yeah. Right. 

Soon we were wrist deep in mixing our flours together and scrambling our eggs in hopes that they would not escape the flour well that we had created. Laughing and joking along the way, the mixing and kneading of the ingredients commenced and soon we had dough balls. Yes, we made pasta balls! And it only took perhaps 12-15 minutes! Our pasta dough, now able to bounce back when you squished it, was ready for an olive oil coating, and a 30 minute rest.

During the dough resting period, our instructors and some class volunteers worked to create two sauces (tomato vodka and basil-pesto) and a ricotta cheese and roasted red-pepper filling for the pasta and ravioli we would be making. Nothing had even been cooked yet, but the combined, fresh ingredients smelled heavenly! As the sauces began to simmer, we were instructed on how to roll out our dough. Don't forget the Pac-Man step, we reminded each other!  

Numerous turns of the pasta machine's crank later and lots of teamwork, we had long sheets of dough that were ravioli ready! We folded the sheets in half in order to create a seam as a guideline for the filling. "Don't over-stuff your ravioli, these aren't calzones - that's a different class!", we heard our instructor say. And with that, we began spooning our ingredients onto the dough, keeping a two finger distance between each clump of filling.
After coming to the end of our dough-line, we then folded the pasta over itself and began to press out all the air and seal our pockets for proper cooking. All that was left was to cut and trim the edges to allow for the picture-perfect pasta pillow.

With the ravioli completed and ready for boiling, we took the second halves of our dough and began to roll it out the same way we prepped the ravioli. Only this time, we folded our end product sheet of dough into quarters and cut it into wide noodles. From there, we layered the noodles, heavily floured, onto baking sheet for temporary containment until their final journey to the boiling pots. 

While we cleaned up our hands and stations, the chefs boiled our pastas and finished the sauces. After a quick purchase of a bottle of wine, we were ready to eat! Our pastas were sauced, allowed to soak up the flavors, and then re-sauced before serving. Paired with a balsamic coated salad, we plated our lunches and were seated for consumption! All I can say is, it was awesome and relatively easy! The laughs, the learning, meeting other people, and enjoying a day of pure fun all added up to awesome! And. Well, the desire to buy my own pasta machine! 


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