- Don’t put oil in your pasta boiling water – it really has no effect, and can prevent the sauce from sticking to the pasta.
- Taste your pasta boiling water – most people don’t taste the water, but the saltiness is important.
- Make sure to press all the air out of your ravioli’s before sealing, or they’ll explode during boiling.
- Roll the pasta through the pasta ‘squisher machine’ twice at each setting, because the gluten springs back after the first pressing.
- Don’t bother using the “well method” for making pasta dough, use a bowl – you won’t loose any ingredients, it’s faster and the cleanup is quicker.
Today we made our own pasta – the dish of the day was definitely the ravioli. We made the pasta with just flour, egg, and a hint of olive oil (one white pasta, and one ‘enriched’ with a spinach puree to make it nice and green). I had forgotten that pasta requires 10min of kneading, which got a bit ‘carpal-syndroming’.
The pasta (dough) was then rolled through the pasta maker at increasingly thin settings until we had nice thin planks for ravioli. We then took yesterday’s ricotta, added chives, parsley, thyme, nutmeg, egg yolk, and used this as the stuffing. So, EVERY element of this was from SCRATCH including the cheese!!!!! No more Chef Boyardee! The ravioli was delicious standalone, but then Chef Jeff showed us how to use a bit of the boiling water and melted butter to make a real nice sauce for them. Stupefacente!!!!!!
We also made gnocchi. I’m not a huge gnocchi fan, but this tasted quite good. We started by baking potatoes, over salt and aluminum foil. Apparently the salt is to lift the potatoes off the pan, and the aluminum is to protect the pan. We then took the baked potatoes, peeled them (ouch, hot), food-milled them, added flour, s&p, nutmeg, parmesan, and created a dough, rolled the gnocchi out, boiled them and served over the tomato sauce we made yesterday. It was pretty good. We forgot to add a little butter just before getting assessed so they looked a little matte. Rob Punzo, I’m gunnin’ for you at our next cookoff!!!!!
Tonight is a bit hectic. Most of us went to an after-hours butchery lesson (we have our practical on Tuesday where we have to quarter a chicken and fillet a fish, as well as make crème anglaise and do some pipeing)… and I am AWFUL at butchery, so I need the practice. The chicken quartering seems to be coming along, but both the chicken and the fish continue to look like I took an axe to them.
Tonight we also have to put together a menu (thank you Ray for the graphic design on that), and put together a recipe for a chicken dinner, as well as make a picture of the final product, and recipe cards. Hopefully I’ll be done before tomorrow starts, ugh!
PS from Cheff Jeff: “Don’t be a clown riding a mini-bicycle – use the right sized bowl for the task.”