Class #5 at NWCAV

Pasta, pasta and more pasta! Tonight's Menu featured Aglio e Olio (with Spaghetti), made-from-scratch Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce, and freshly made Prawn-Leek Tortolloni.

First up was the spaghetti. Using a cold pan, we heated the olive oil, tomatoes, and chilies. Cooking our pasta at the same time as our greens (do this unless you have par-cooked them ahead of time) the tomatoes were left to soften. Garlic was added, we waited for it to sizzle, and then we stirred in the greens and a splash or two of pasta water. We added a generous amount of butter, increased the heat, and let it all cook together for a while longer. Finishing touches? Stir in a bit of parsley and some fresh mozzarella.

Next on the docket was the potato gnocchi served in fresh tomato sauce: a "from scratch" first for this piggy. Whole potatoes (with skin on) were cooked and then taken through a potato ricer. They were cooled, seasoned, sprinkled with flour, and then crumbled or "cut" with a pastry scraper. An egg yolk was added along with a good helping of flour - enough so that the dough no longer stuck to the board or to your hands. We then gently kneaded the dough together, flattened the mass, sliced the dough into ropes, and rolled each one out. The ropes were cut into knuckle length pieces and then poached in a simmering pot of water. Once the gnocchi floated to the top, we counted to 10, and then scooped it all out, placing each piece directly into our heated pan of delicious tomato sauce. Add as much parmesan as you like to your bowl, serve and enjoy!

**Classic Tomato Sauce: Sauté onions in olive oil, until golden brown. Add garlic to the pan - make sure it doesn't brown or burn. Add the tomato paste, stir for 3-4 minutes on a gentle simmer, and then add the tomato puree. Simmer all together for another 20 to 30 minutes, season to taste, stir in basil and fresh high quality olive oil.

The last item for the night was the Tortolloni served with saffron-crème sauce. We prepared the dough for the pasta sheets in a food processor: flour, salt, and eggs. The dough, once kneaded and flattened, was then fed through the pasta machine. Folding the dough in half and smoothing it with a little more flour each time, we cranked and cranked until the pasta sheets reached their desired level of thickness. Laying them out on a wooden surface, we cut out square pieces of the sheets and placed a dollop of raw prawn and pre-cooked leek in the middle of each piece. We folded corner to corner and successfully formed a tortolloni shape. Sauce ingredients (butter, white wine, and cream) simmered together as we cooked the pasta in a different pot. Once ready, the pasta was tossed in with the sauce and received a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. This dish, another one welcome to a handful of parmesan cheese, was plated, served, and exceptionally well received. What a way to end the night!

Tonight's class topped the charts - I can't believe this Program is more than half way done. Here are some more DOs and DON'Ts from class...get them while you still can!

DO:

  • bring 1 liter cold water to a boil for every 90-100 grams of dry pasta
  • stir pasta continuously until water returns
  • use high quality olive oil when making tomato sauce
  • make big batches of tomato sauce and jar for future use
  • sweat leeks before stuffing the pasta
  • toss a few scrap pieces of pasta sheet into the pot of cooking tortollonis - this is a great way to be able to test for doneness

DON’T:

  • add salt to the water until it has started to boil
  • add oil to the water
  • rinse the pasta after it has cooked
  • drain/pour out all of your pasta water
  • mash the gnocchi potatoes after they have boiled

aglio spagh

cooked gnocchi

chef and i

me!

making torto

finished torto

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