Thursday, January 20, 2011
Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!
I'm on a pasta hangover....big time.
4 kinds of pasta, 4 different sauces, and lots of chopping and kneading. I took a class at the renowned Kitchen Window here in Minneapolis last night. It was hands-on, literally. We made everything from gnocchi to sweet potato tortellini, to manicotti, to linguine with clams. Oh my! Can you see why I'm a little sluggish today?? Uffda. It was all so fabulous. If only I could eat like that everyday and not gain a pound....life would be good. Really good.
Now I have this incredible wealth of knowledge and some fabulous recipes to try out the next time I want to impress anyone that comes over for dinner. Here's what we made:
TORTELLINI with ROASTED SWEET POTATOES, served with a rich PISTACHIO CREAM SAUCE.
MANICOTTI with SHERRY MUSHROOM BROTH, WATERCRESS AND CRISPY PANCETTA.
LINGUINI with clam sauce using LITTLENECK CLAMS, OVEN DRIED TOMATOES, WHITE WINE AND ARUGULA.
GNOCCHI, served with a PAN TOMATO SAUCE WITH PROSCIUTTO, WHOLE LEAF BASIL AND ROASTED GARLIC.
We made the pasta dough with semolina flour - I've never used it before. It does take much more kneading than if you were to use AP flour, but it gets so silky and rolls out pretty well, too. I like it both ways - really haven't formed a strong preference for one way yet.
Classes are such a great way to learn new things - and they're fun!! Perfect for a birthday, a date with your loved one, an anniversary, girls night out. You name it, classes are perfect. I usually try to take a couple cooking classes a year to expand my horizons and learn some new recipes. They always seem to inspire me and get the creative juices going. I love that!
Prep ingredients, and wine, of course
We started with Gnocchi. So flavorful and light, surprisingly. The pan tomato sauce this paired with was a star as well.
Then we tried our hand at making Tortellini stuffed with Roasted Sweet Potato. This was by far my favorite. The key to making tortellini is to make sure you get all the air out of the little pocket so when you boil them they don't explode in the water. We were pretty successful. The pistachio cream sauce was divine as well. I could drink that stuff. But my derriere probably wouldn't appreciate that.
We move on to the Manicotti. Instead of boiling the noodles first and then filling them, we took the fresh pasta, cut into rectangles, piped in the ricotta filling, and rolled like a cigar. Then, we basically steamed them in the sherry sauce. - much, much easier than the traditional way. I would definitely try this one again.
We're not done yet...honestly. There's more. I was stuffed at this point but was anxiously holding out for the last dish - the Linguini with Clams. A classic dish, this one hit the spot. It had some heat and great flavor from the slow roasted San Marzano tomatoes. We used littleneck clams.
Chef Royal did a great job putting this menu together, and helping us through all these pasta-making techniques like a true professional. I can now shape a tortellini like a champ!
Now if you'll excuse me, the treadmill is calling my name.
** I am in no way affiliated with the Kitchen Window. I'm simply a patron that loves the products and classes they offer.**