These days you are more likely to find me teaching a cooking class than taking one. But what a shame that is! I am always learning new things in the kitchen. As a self-taught cook, you often do. And I realized recently the huge breath of things that I’d like to learn more about and get better at.
So educational food adventures has been my theme this month. I’ve trekked out to Amagansett to fillet fish with Charlotte of Stuart’s Seafood. I’ve broken down a 250 pound pig with my pals at Knickerbocker Meats around the corner from my apartment. I’ve brushed up on my knife skills at ICE. And as of this past weekend, I have foraged with Wildman Steve in Central Park for mustard greens and sorrel.
A little while back, I learned about the new start-up Course Horse, which offers New Yorkers a better portal for finding and signing up for classes around the city. They asked me if I’d be interested in taking one of their food-related courses for a test drive, and I said heck yeah. I won’t say that this necessarily was the sole impetus for my education streak, but it certainly was an inspiration.
The class I chose was Pasta Making at Taste Buds. Josh gave me a beautiful manual pasta maker for my birthday last year, and is borderline offended that I have yet to use it. The gluten-free thing was a pretty lame excuse, made worse by the fact that he also gave me some excellent gluten-free books to go with the machine. But really, it had been so long since I had made fresh pasta with a machine, I needed a leg up before I got back on that horse.
The class was a great refresher, even though we made the dough with a Cuisinart attachment instead of a real pasta machine. It was BYOB and everyone brought a bottle of wine to drink while we got our hands gluey with flour. The class started with each of us making a ball of dough. I had forgotten the texture that we were aiming for, and didn’t remember that it involved so much kneading, which might have been why my homemade pasta was never very good in the first place. Then we split off into groups to make pasta sauce and the ravioli fillings. That part was pretty remedial – after all, they are recipes that 8-year-olds execute during the daytime. But it was nice casual atmosphere and good night of cooking nonetheless.
I’ve included the Taste Buds recipe for Homemade Pasta below with my notes from the class. Make sure you write down some of the pointers if you’re planning on making the pasta again – the recipe that we took home was very sparse. Of course, if you’re just looking for a night of fun, as most of my fellow classmates were, forgettaboutit. Just bring a bottle of wine and prepare to leave tipsy and covered in flour.
Stay tuned for more stories, tips, and wacky pictures from my other educational culinary adventures as part of this Market Special column.
Homemade Pasta Dough
3 cups flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
Water, if needed
1. Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in middle of flour, and add the eggs, oil, and salt.
2. Mix slowly with a fork, bringing the flour into the center little by little, until combined.
3. Knead for 10 mins. Add water if too dry, add flour if too wet. The finished ball should be smooth and hold its shape.
5. Let rest for 30 mins.