Monday, February 22, 2016

Handmade Pasta, February 18, 2016

Last night, we celebrated my beautiful wife's birthday by attending the second in the cooking class series at our church. Representatives from Williams Sonoma came to teach us how to make pasta from scratch. I've been curious about this process for awhile---and thoroughly intimidated, as well! My great-grandma Mil used to make noodles, I've heard, and hang them on the backs of her kitchen chairs to dry. I hate rolling anything out, so I always figured pasta-making was a bad idea for me, but after this class, I actually feel like I could do it. Of course, they did teach us to make the pasta using a gadget for rolling and cutting. I got to hand-cut some egg fettucine, which turned out to be kind of a fettuccine/pappardelle hybrid, depending on which end you were eating! It's HARD to roll it out straight. I decided, if I were the precision sort, I could use a ruler when rolling it out at home. Then, I was talking to some chef friends & Dave gave me the tip that I could just roll the dough into a log and cut it that way. This sounds totally do-able---after all, it's basically the same as cutting basil into a chiffonade! Anyway, Jeannene and I are now talking about picking up a pasta attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer.

We got dinner, too---the pasta we had made! I am happy to report that, although my hand-cut pieces definitely had a bit of a wabi-sabi air to them, the pasta was delicious! Seeing as how I'm not planning on attending culinary school or working in a restaurant, I figure imperfect pasta is just fine. The fettucine was the base for a fabulous classic dish with peas, fresh ricotta, and prosciutto. I didn't care for the second pasta dish, which was a whole wheat linguine (my least favorite pasta shape---isn't that weird?) with arugula pesto. Pesto, even the standard basil variety, seems to me to be an acquired taste. It's usually too bite-y for me, although, in small amounts, it can be truly great. However, I found the arugula version to be entirely too bitter to be edible. I think some of the folks in the class liked it---Jeannene loved it---but I had to set it aside after two bites. We also had salad, bread, and Ghirardelli and Dove chocolates.

Elijah slept through the class, so I guess he won't be making his own pasta as soon as he's old enough, but I plan to teach him! As soon as I have mastered it myownself, that is.

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