Have you ever wondered how to make stuffed pasta? I’ve made plenty of fresh pasta, but never really ventured past that, into ravioli and tortellini.
I got my chance recently at an “Advanced Pasta” class at Sprout Creek Farm.
Mark, the executive director and chef, lead a trio of us through preparing the dough, cutting it and shaping it into ravioli, tortellini, mezzaluna, etc.
We got a lot of hands-on opportunities to help roll out the dough and then use it to cut and shape all the different stuffed pastas. I never knew that the more you worked the dough through the rollers that it starts to develop a sheen.
Some pasta shapes like ravioli or mezzalunas are pretty easy, but the round tortellini require some practice. We also learned to cut and shape things like rigatoni, which with the help of the handle of a wooden spoon turns out to be super easy.
While you’ve probably always heard about adding the water from the cooked pasta to whatever sauce you’re making to thicken the sauce and help it stick to the pasta, for me it’s always an abstract idea. I’ll occasionally toss in a splash of water from the pasta, with no purpose (which is probably why the results were never spectacular). Mark’s had a lot of experience training in Boston’s North End and has the pasta water/sauce thing down. He took the time and showed us how it worked. The two super-quick sauces he made were great! They had little in them but pasta, the water, a splash of olive oil or butter some chopped veggies and a sprinkling of cheese. In this case, some of the fine cheeses that Sprout Creek is famous for. The second one was almost the same, but he added a beaten egg and some breadcrumbs in his version of a carbonara. BTW, if you think that adding breadcrumbs to pasta is just loading on the carbs, try it and then thank me in the comments.
Before class, Mark was kind enough to share his quiche recipe with me. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with anything, or why you’d care. I’d been at an event he catered a few days earlier and was told that I must try the quiche, it was amazing, and it was! By far, the best quiche I’ve ever had. So, it was great that he shared his recipe (technique really) and will have to give it a try. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.
Since the class, whether it’s just laziness, lack of motivation or dealing with too much snow and downed trees, I haven’t made pasta or quiche, but not to worry, it will be on the menu soon!