Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Pasta Class

I took my second cooking class this weekend. We made fresh pasta dough and two dishes. The first dish was goat cheese tortellini with charred red pepper pesto and olives. The second dish was linguine with shrimp, Summer vegetables and fresh mint. Both were yummy. Let's start at the beginning.

Our chef instructor prepared the pasta dough ahead of time because it needs to rest. Then, we worked as a team of four to roll the pasta out by using the hand roller. We started at setting "zero," which is the largest opening. Then, we folded the pasta in thirds, then in half. Then we rolled each sheet through the attachment. We at started at setting 1 and progressing through each setting until we reached setting 6. We had fairly thin sheets of pasta that were ready to use for both dishes.

The first dish we made was goat cheese tortellini with charred red pepper pesto and olives. I helped make the pesto for the class. It was super simple especially because all the ingredients were prepped and ready. May chefs use this technique called mise en place. This is a french term that translates to "put in place."  I blended the ingredients for the pesto together in the food processor until there are no large pieces of ingredients and everything is well blended.

Then, we moved to making the pasta dough into tortellini. We cut out 3-inch pasta rounds with a cookie cutter. Placed 1 teaspoon of filling into the pasta round. Dampen the edges of the pasta with water. Fold the pasta in half to make a half-moon shape. Please out all the air bubbles from the inside (by the filling) out. Place a drop of water on the edge of the pasta and loop the two corners behind the pasta to make the tortellini shape. Place tortellini on a floured half-sheet pan and continue forming the tortellini until done.

Boil the fresh pasta for 3-4 minutes until tender, and the pasta rises to the top of the pot. Toss warm pasta with your fresh, Summer pesto, and enjoy!

The second dish was linguine with shrimp, Summer vegetables and fresh mint.

This was the first time I used a pasta cutter. The pasta machine has a cutting attachment you can see in the picture below. It was super simple. After you roll out the pasta to the desired thinness, you feed the pasta sheets through the cutting attachment. And, out comes linguine! You flour the pasta and lay it in flat nests on a baking sheet until you're ready to cook it.

Next, it's time to make the sauce. The ingredients are all out on a sheet tray ready to chop and finish the mise en place. 

Then, you cook the shrimp in a little oil. Add the onion and garlic. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the veggies. Cook until tender. Add the herbs. The chef cooked the pasta while we prepared the sauce. Toss everything together and enjoy!

Y'all. I really loved taking these classes. One of my friends came to this class with me, which was extra fun! Learning to make pasta in a class setting was a great experience for me. There was a chef to help coach you. And, there were the chef's helpers who helped clean up the mess. There was quite a bit of flour . . . on everything and everyone in the class. Whoopsies! 

I encourage you to try something new. Invite a friend. Learn something new. Don't be afraid to try a new recipe, and taste something new!

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