Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fresh Pasta Making Class Review at Sur La Table

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Bad blogger two day in a row and forgot my camera, apologies for another i-phone picture post. S. and I took a fun pasta making class at the Sur La Table at the Farmer's Market next to the Grove last night. Pasta, especially fresh pasta is one of my favorite foods; so many of my best meals of all time have been centered around the amazing pasta courses at Babbo in NYC.  I feel like fresh pasta absorbs the flavors pasta sauces better and has that incomparable texture when cooked right (barely cooked). I've only made fresh pasta once, some orecchiette a few years ago, and it was so much work that I haven't done it again since. It's actually pretty easy with a pasta roller, now I want one too! The one that fits my Kitchenaid stand mixer is a little too pricey at $149 for something that I won't use that often. I will be sticking with a hand cranked one; I rather like the old-fashioned feel of putting a little muscle to work. The Atlas Marcato 150mm was really easy to use in class. We made fresh pasta and three pretty basic different sauces: a sausage ragu, a pancetta, sundried tomato cream sauce and a sage walnut pesto sauce. I'll post all the recipes as I recreate the dishes at home. My favorite was the pancetta sundried tomato sauce, I'll definitely be making it at home. The class made everything very easy; everything was premeasured, they did our dishes for us, and even cooked our pasta for us and assembled final dishes. If only cooking were this easy! Cooking is always more fun with company. I definitely picked up a couple of tips, got some good new recipes, and stuffed myself with pasta with a little wine that we bought at the nearby Monsieur Marcel. Great way to spend a Wednesday night!

Fresh Pasta Recipe (4 servings):
  • Using "00" flour if possible, measure out 2 1/2 cups of flour (12 oz) combined with 1 TB of kosher salt, and 4 large eggs (2 oz each, total 8 oz). The ratio is 3 parts flour to 2 parts egg, but I don't have a scale in my kitchen
  • Dump the flour on a cutting board, use a fork and make a well in the center, like a volcano, large enough to hold the 4 eggs
  • Crack the 4 eggs in the center (optional: 1 TB of olive oil) and using a fork in circular motions, start incorporating the flour at the edges of the well into the egg until fully combined
  • After the egg and flour is fully combined (will be a bit of a crumbly loose mess), start kneading the dough (push with the heel of the hand, then fold the top over towards you, rotate a 1/4 turn and repeat). Knead until the dough is smooth, no longer sticky, and the dough will spring back up if you press a finger into it. Should take at least 5 minutes
  • Let the dough rest in a bowl covered with plastic (so it doesn't dry out) for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour at room temperature before rolling
  • Well flour the dough and roll it out with a pasta machine (2x through the widest setting at 1, 1x each at each setting through 5). Roll it through the cutter, flour and place on a well floured cutting board
  • Cook in boiling salted water. Fresh pasta only needs to cook for 2-3 minutes. I prefer to undercook it even more and finish cooking it in the sauce that I'm making
After a lot of hard work, dinnertime family style
Yes, I had seconds after this plate. S. & I. took a Bar Method class in West Hollywood before Sur La Table so seconds were well-deserved

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