Prep 45 mins Cook 5 mins Eat 50 mins
I felt like a proud mother watching everyone cranking and rolling out beautiful
ribbons of pasta dough at our Pasta Cooking Class on June 9.
It was a first for just about everyone in the class and our 11-year old Sous Chef, Hannah seemed to have mastered making pasta in no time at all. Starting with just flour, eggs and salt, you just can’t imagine that eventually you will end up with beautiful ribbons of pasta that you can spin around your fork.
We made four different pasta dishes. It was difficult to choose a favorite. TheSwiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli has been a favorite of mine for a long time,
when I found it in Marcella Hazen’s book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. It certainly has great presentation value and looks difficult to make, but once you get a rhythm going, it comes together quite easily.
Diane and Susan made up a browned butter and sage sauce, which makes this dish! Add a little parmeasan and Voila!
The Carbonara con Bresaola made by Nancy, Ashley and Marie has a creamy sauce made of whole milk and eggs. The thinly sliced bresaola, which is very lean, adds so much flavor. I had never used bresaola before. It is very much like a lean, dark colored prosciutto. I bought it at Bristol Farms and the lady behind the counter suggested slicing it thin (1/8”) or it would be chewy, even though the recipe from the March/April issue of La Cucina Italiana used ¼” thick chunks. I followed her advice and it worked out very well.
The picture perfect fettucine made this dish out of this world!!
Gerry, Olivia and LaTanya had the challenging task of making the delicate angel hair
pasta, as it is difficult to keep the tiny strands from sticking together, but they managed it quite well. The Genovese Pesto on Angel Hair was truly angelic and full of that robust flavor of basil and pine nuts.
They also assembled this beautiful Caprese Salad.
Avery and Chris worked on the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta. They are proclaimed cooking novices, but you wouldn’t know it watching them channel the pasta dough through the Cuisinart pasta machine, extruding small pieces of perfect macaroni.
Avery worked on the pasta, while Chris sautéed up the swiss chard, and mixed together the sauce of pureed sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes.
The team of Natalie and Chris treated us to a creamy and powerful Tiramisu from La Cucina Italiana that would knock your socks off. We used heavy duty mascarpone cheese for this dish, not the whimpy ricotta cheese I normally use to lighten it up.
I miscalculated just how much one can eat, when your plate is mainly carbs and cheese! The answer – not very much without stuffing oneself. After eating some of the leftovers the next day, I had to swear off pasta for two weeks, cuz I was starting to feel like the Pillsbury dough boy!!! Now I’m ready to imbibe again…bring it on!
Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli
Inspired by Marcella Hazen and her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
1 Pasta Dough recipe made with 1/4 semolina flour (below)
2 pounds Swiss chard, destalked and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
10 sage leaves
2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Destalk the swiss chard, wash and chop the leaves. Save the large white stalks for another use. Place swiss chard leaves in a pot and add a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until leaves are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain any liquid from the chard.
2. While swiss chard is cooking, cook onion and olive oil in a skillet until translucent. Add cooked chard to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
3. Combine swiss chard mixture, ricotta, egg yolk, parmesan and nutmeg in a bowl.
4. Place rolled out pasta dough onto counter. Fold and cut in half on short side, so you have two equally sized pieces of dough. Brush with water and place a teaspoonful of swiss chard mixture onto pasta dough two across, leaving two inches of space between the mounds. Place remaining half of dough on top of it and beginning at center, squeeze out any air, as you seal the mounds into ravioli shapes. Cut with zigzag cutter into squares. Flour each ravioli and place on parchment or wax paper, so they won’t stick together. Raviolis can be frozen for later use if you wish.
5. When sauce is ready, add raviolis to boiling water. Cook only a minute until they float to the top. Lift out with skimmer and drain.
1. Chop sage leaves coarsely. Set aside
2. Place butter into skillet and turn heat to medium. Watch it melt and then begin to brown. As soon as it begins to brown, add chopped sage. It will sizzle. Remove from heat and when ready, drizzle over raviolis. Then grate parmesan cheese over the top. Yum!
Basic Egg Pasta
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- Water, only if needed
Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor. Do pinch test. Take a few granules between your thumb and forefinger and pinch them flat. They should hold together, with no separate grains visible, and the mix shouldn’t feel wet. If it’s too wet, add flour – a tablespoon at a time, process for 20 seconds and pinch again. If it’s too dry, add water – no more than a teaspoon at a time. Dump contents of the Cuisinart bowl onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Bring together the sides to form a disc of dough. Let sit until you are ready to roll the dough out. It can be refrigerated for a day or two or put in the freezer until you are ready to use.
Follow pasta maker directions for rolling out dough.