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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pasta Night at Tri County Vocational High School

Having had so much fun taking the Chocolate Truffle class as a substitute for Audrey I signed up for the pasta class. We managed between all of us signing up to be about half of the students enrolled.  When the day came I was eager to make ravioli since its one of my favorite Italian dishes.

When we arrived at the Tri County Vocational High School kitchen called Gerry's Place I immediately recognized the instructor as one of my favorite Chef's at Sur La Table. Betsy Proom and her uber helpful side kick Lynn greeted me with smiles and a hug. I knew we would have fun with them as our instructors.
After a quick introduction and an apology to the other students for our enthusiasm of seeing each other again the class began. Betsy started off describing, demoing and instructing us how to make pasta dough using flour and eggs. She explained the importance of using a scale to measure the flour since it wasn't volume but weight that was important. The perfect portions for 4 people are 4 large egg's for every 12 oz flour and 1 tbsp of oil and 1tbsp of kosher salt

What you want to do it create a bowl using the flour to contain the eggs. Then slowly combine the egg and flour until completely combined. Then this new pasta dough must rest. Wrap it in plastic wrap and wait roughly 30 - 60 minutes before using. She also explained at this point that the dough could be frozen and used again later.

Once fully rested you want to press firmly on it with the palm of your hand to flatten it out. Then you can begin feeding it into a pasta machine on the widest setting. After the first pass fold it into threes and feed it back through the rollers at their widest setting again. Repeat a third time. Then lower the setting by one and feed the dough through. With each pass you lower the setting until the pasta is translucent. Solid but you can start to see your fingers through it.

With sheets now created you can use this to make ravioli or run it through the pasta machine to create spaghetti, fettuccini, or other flat pastas'. If you want to make ravioli you would lay the sheet out flat and put a quarter size dollop of filling ever 1.5" along one side of the pasta sheet. Then using water draw boxes around those dollops then fold over the sheet. As you do this remove as much of the air as possible before sealing the ravioli's then use a cutter to cut them out individually. Then dust with flour until ready to cook.

We made a Wild Mushroom Ravioli. To make the filling finely chop up 1lb of wild mushrooms. Mince 1/4 cup of onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Then in a large skillet heat 2tbs of olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once melted add the chopped mushrooms and onions with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Herb de Provence and cook for about 6 minutes until soft and caramelized.

Remove from heat and put mushroom mixture into a large bowl. While hot add 1 oz goat cheese, 2/3 cup of ricotta and 1/4 cup parmesan and mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

The sauce is just as easy. Using 4tbs of butter, 2 tbsp of flour, 1/3 cup white wine, 1/3 cup of chicken stock and 2 tbsp. of cream. In a skillet heat butter and olive oil over medium/high heat. Once slightly brown add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Making a rue. Then add wine, stock and cream and whisk until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

We also made two more dishes; Three Cheese Cappelletti with a Parsley-Walnut Pesto and a a Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Artichokes and Chicken Sausage.

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