Monday night was our pasta class and I’ve tried to make ravioli before without a machine…and failed miserably. Pasta is not difficult but it is labor intensive. Last night I made my first set of filled ravioli AND some angel hair pasta and it was super easy. However, I did have the benefit of having the proper tools and lots of coaching from Chef Brian and his merry band of assistants. Pasta, as with many other foods, is made easy if you have the proper ingredients (appropriate flour) and tools (available counter space, hand crank machine).
I’ve been making a list of tools, accoutrements, and items that would be good for gifts (to me, from others) and have now added a pasta maker to that list, although I don’t know if I’ll last the day without buying one for myself. I’ve found several on Ebay that are new in box (NIB) for under $40 with free shipping so it seems like a no-brainier purchase.
We don’t currently eat a lot of pasta but maybe we would if I made it at home rather than purchasing it in a box. It’s “cheap” in terms of ingredients but oh so labor intensive.
Last night Chef Brian demonstrated his Lemon Pasta (mix of semolina flour and all purpose flour), Gnocchi (potato pasta), Cheese filled ravioli, Vongole (linguine with clams), and squid ink pasta. I doubt I’ll ever be adventurous enough to do colored pasta. I get frustrated with colored pasta thinking it will taste differently from regular pasta. It doesn’t. It seems like a lot of work to extract the chlorophyll from parsley to just make pasta green without any flavor…what a pain. If you ever find yourself at my house enjoying homemade pasta, you can rest assure that it will be fabulous but won’t be any color besides that beautiful golden it was meant to be. I cook well but I usually dispense with the flourish of fancy presentation.
I wanted to take a photo of my ravioli in progress but my phone was out of battery as I was also following the Caps vs Rangers game 3 of the Stanley Cup. Waste of time and battery but that’s a separate story all together. As I was sheeting my pasta, I was so excited that it was going so well and my cooking-mates and I had managed to avoid the usual pitfalls that plague many beginners. The trick is no fear. Have no fear of what you’re attempting to do. It’s just food and you can always start over.
Once I’d made my ravioli, I took the remnants and ran it through the sheeter again and made angel hair pasta…so pretty when it’s emerging from the cutter. Again, an exciting moment for me. I love doing new things and having them turn out well. I just love doing new things, period. Again the process gets to me. I was so eager to cook my new pasta that I’d forgotten the golden rule. The sauce waits for the pasta, not the other way around. Before I could cook my new creation, I needed to be sure I had a sauce to accompany it. The ravioli was delicately coated in a home made tomato sauce with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The angel hair, I decided, should be simple. Olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice with some parsley and Parmesan cheese to top it off. Delicious. I think, as usual, I over indulged in pasta but am inspired to create more at home.
Just before leaving class, I remembered I’d ordered 10 lbs of veal bones to make veal stock. I never would have sought out 10 lbs of veal bones but the opportunity just presented itself. A supplier known to Chef Brian had them available and the class ordered about 100 lbs of bones. So at the moment, they’re sitting in the freezer waiting for me to muster the time and inclination to make them into stock. Stay tuned.