Although I started this blog as a way to keep my family and friends updated on what’s going on at culinary school, there was a little part of me hoping that I was the first one with the idea. Wrong! There are several people out there who documented the school part of their culinary training up to or beyond graduation. One of them is Blue Artichoke. I’ve only just started reading her blog archives, but it’s been very interesting…’specially since she’s followed it up with what’s happened to some of the other students since they all graduated.
I’ve combined day 46 and 47 because it was really one big session that was broken down into two days. The lecture and demonstration took five hours on Monday and then Tuesday we spent the entire five hours on our production (remember that it’s usually two hours for lecture/demo, two and a half hours of student production, and 30 a minute cleanup). Since it’s fresh pasta, you have to factor in the time it takes for the pasta dough to relax and then all the folding and rolling, and rolling, and more rolling. This is one of those foods that takes a lot of time to do, but is worth every moment.
The three basic pastas that we made were Basic Egg Pasta, Spinach Pasta and Tomato Pasta. The spinach pasta was a brighter green than the dried kind you find at the grocery store, and of course it tasted much better too; while the tomato pasta was a pain to work with.
Using the egg pasta, Chef EL made Egg Bow Tie Pasta with Basil Pesto. I usually don’t care for bow tie pasta since the center part doesn’t like to cook the whole way through without making the ends of it soggy, but that’s not a problem when you make it fresh. Everyone kept getting back in line for tasting until it was gone…very, very good stuff. Too bad this was a demo only recipe. The recipe that we ended up using was Papardelle Putanesca (or as we were calling it – Hooker Pasta). The origin of the name isn’t clear, but it’s attributed to being a favorite recipe of the ‘working girl’ in Italy back who-knows-when and was quick to make – or “rough and ready” as one person put it. Personally I think it has more to do with the pungent odor of this dish. It uses capers, anchovies, kalamata olives and garlic. Gross. Capers are nothing but little snot-balls that have been pickled in brine and Listerine for 5 to 6 years…not something that I want to put in my food. Neither my partner or I were very enthusiastic about this dish and didn’t score well because we didn’t get the taste correct. It’s difficult to adjust the flavors of something that you don’t want to put in your mouth. The pasta part was kinda cool. Papardelle is a thin strip of pasta that’s about an inch wide and a foot long. It works well with heavy sauces like Putanesca Sauce.
We made Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo with the spinach pasta. Once you have the pasta rolled out into sheets, it doesn’t take long before you have Fettuccine Alfredo. Dump four parts cream to one part butter in a pan and reduce by half. Remove from heat and add one and a half parts parmesan cheese and stir until it melts. Adjust seasonings. After tasting this, I won’t be buying the bottled crap anymore. (Snarkyboy likes a certain bottled brand, but I hate it because it tastes as though there’s more flour in it than parmesan. Now we won’t have to argue about it.) The pasta part is even quicker: run pasta sheet through the fettuccine cutter and toss into boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain and toss into the alfredo sauce and serve. We made extra so we could snack on it while making everything else. This was my favorite for the day.
All the Rest
We had to make six ravioli and six tortellinis with all three pastas (2 egg, 2 tomato, 2 spinach). After watching Chef EL cut all of these out with a knife (she missplaced her round cutters), I went out and bought a 12 piece set of round cutters from the school store. That saved us a lot of time later. Raviolis are pretty basic, but I really enjoyed making the tortellinis. We were allowed to make any sauce we wanted, but we couldn’t use the same sauce for both. We used a Brown Butter and Sage sauce for the raviolis (pretty good) and Aglio e olio for the tortellinis (even better when using panko bread crumbs to help it coat the pasta). I’m planning on making the tortellini with aglio e olio this weekend for my husband. It’s not only tasty, but it’s also fun to say.
And now a note about my new partner for this week. I don’t know much about Angelfish, other than she’s kinda quiet. We worked well together on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to the rest of this week. And Modams? I saw him standing off to the side yesterday staring into space waving his hands in the air all around him… don’t know what it was about and I’m not asking.