Who doesn’t love pasta? No one that I know. So when a group of girlfriends decided to try a Casual Gourmet class from the Culinary Institute of Virginia my eyes locked on the Pasta 101 class. I was curious to see how easy or complicated it would be to make and I wanted to see if the chef would be able to identify local restaurants that make their own opposed.
The class was led by Chef Dave Miller who did a great job of showing us how easy it is to make pasta dough.
Egg Pasta from Culinary Institute of Virginia
4 oz. bread flour
4 oz. semolina
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
Mix flours with salt and make a well in the center. Mix eggs with water and olive oil and pour into well. Stir from center till it all comes together. Cut into four pieces and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill at least one hour.
Then the fun starts. If you hadn’t used your hands to mix the dough (like we did in class because we were too impatient to wait for spoons), you now get to work the dough by kneading. I was surprised how easy it was and I sampled the dough raw to learn how good it really was.
In class with had hand crank pasta makers so it was a snap. I took my dough home to make pasta (to carb load for my Saturday morning mud run) and found the dough much harder to roll with my rolling pin. If this is going to become a common occurrence I will be looking into some sort of pasta maker. The dough has to be rolled out several times, folding in the same direction to increase glutens (or something scientific like that). The pasta contraption also makes it really easy to cut into beautiful, perfect shapes like linguine. Again, at home I had problems and had to hand-cut my pasta thus creating what I like to call “stumps.” Long, square strands of past about an eighth of an inch. Pretty sturdy huh?
We made five different pasta dishes and sampled each of them. My favorite was the Fettuccini Bolognese. It was even better the second day.
My only complaint would be that the class size was just too large; too many people per team without enough tools and work space. Plus the room was too warm (so two complaints). A girl even passed out, which of course made for an exciting distraction.
They mentioned the opportunity for private classes for five or more people and I think this would be the route I go for a more social, enjoyable and laid back experience.
Oh! The biggest take away for our group was to REALLY salt your water when boiling pasta. Chef Dave said it should taste like sea water.
There are lots of other classes available for the casual gourmet. Check out the website to find something you may be interested in.