Pasta was this month’s guest of honor at our Cook Good Food class! It’s a timeless staple food and seriously, who doesn’t love pasta? It comes in all shapes and sizes and can be prepared in countless ways. Paige and Lorena showed us how to make the perfect Tagliatelle and Ravioli from scratch. Find below some of their helpful tips!
Dough preparation: mixing and kneading
Without a perfect dough, pasta is nearly impossible to make. Kneading is essential to create strength through a gluten structure, holding the pasta together. Don’t be afraid to use your hands! The best way to know when your dough is ready is by touch. The dough is ready when it’s completely smooth and, when stretched, will gently pull back into place. If your dough is too sticky, dust it with additional flour. Finally, let it rest in plastic wrap at room temperature for about an hour.
Your dough is finally ready to be transformed into pasta! To flatten the dough, a pasta machine is a great tool to have. You can also do it by hand by rolling the dough flat, folding it into thirds and repeating the process until it reaches a nice elasticity and all the air is rolled out. Have fun and get creative when shaping your pasta! There’s no such thing as ugly pasta! Once made, you can let them dry for a few minutes.
The perfect cooking time for pasta is referred to as al dente, meaning “to the tooth”. To achieve this, the size of the pot doesn’t matter. What does matter is adding salt to the boiling water, not oil! What does matter is adding salt to the boiling water, not oil! Adding oil creates a slip-n-slide effect and prevents any sauce from sticking to the pasta. Don’t forget that fresh pasta cooks faster than dry pasta so make sure to keep a close eye throughout the cooking process by tasting as you go. It would be a shame to let all that hard work go to waste!
Enjoy your homemade pasta with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese and serve it with a Panzanella salad, a true Tuscan delight!
Ciao for now! Already counting the days to next month’s class…