Day 36: Cranking Out Pasta

Yesterday was cheese. Today is pasta. The Italian in me is extremely happy.

Pasta dough: flour, egg, oil

Though the lasagna we made in class wasn’t my favorite. I’m used to layering thick sheets of pasta with ricotta, sauce, and meat. But in class we made a béchamel sauce, a milk-based sauce thickened with flour, in substitution of ricotta and I didn’t find it cheesy enough for my inner (now outer) fat kid. But, it didn’t stop me from wolfing it down for dinner. I need a gastric intervention.

But the best part of class revolved around cranking out sheets of pasta to make ravioli. It takes talent to solely man the pasta machine and not end up with a tangled strip of dough by the time you’re finished. Luckily, as a kid, I remember rolling out pasta and using a parchment-lined bed as a table top. So this task was simple. And to add a little flair, I started to roll parsley leaves between two sheets of ravioli (a trick I learned at a press event).

What wasn’t easy was rolling gnocchi. It’s a super sticky dough that takes a lot of semolina flour to keep it off your fingers. And creating spiral indents on these dumplings is near impossible. You definitely need that special touch, which I didn’t have.  Mine turned out looking like little turds, but luckily we drowned them in a brown butter sage sauce.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you want to make colored pasta, mix pureed, cooked spinach to raw pasta dough. Just make sure you squeeze out all of the water in the spinach before adding it to the pasta dough.

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