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05 October 2014 @ 04:27 pm
Pasta From Scratch class  
Seanie and I had an entertaining morning at Cucina Bambini, a cooking school here in Willow Glen. A few months ago, they posted a Groupon for a pasta-making class. Making noodles from scratch? That sounds like fun! I thought it would make a great date, because Seanie loves pasta and we're always regretful that we do so little cooking.

When we got to the school, we were quickly settled into a table with four other people. Working in pairs, we would be taught how to make basic egg noodles, a cheese-stuffed ravioli, and two kinds of sauces: marinara and alfredo. The teacher was very friendly and helpful. She described everything so thoroughly and demonstrated the techniques before we started, so by the time I was reaching for the flour I knew exactly what to do.

The noodles were really fun to make! Dump a cup of flour in a pile, and make a little crater in the middle. Crack an egg in. Knead the egg into the flour (we used our fingers for maximum entertainment value) until the dough is mixed, and then roll it into a ball. Dust with flour as needed. (Flour was generously dusted EVERYWHERE.) Roll it through the pasta machine and presto, in a few minutes you have a pile of noodles. It was so easy that Seanie and I wanted to immediately run out and buy a pasta machine so that we could make noodles at home. The only thing that stopped us was the undeniable fact that our tiny kitchen has no place to put a pasta roller.

After we made the noodles, we moved on to the ravioli. The teacher had already made the filling, but she gave us the recipe so that we could recreate it at home if we wished. We cut a pasta sheet into pieces, stuffed it with the filling, and sealed the edges of our ravioli with water. Seanie wanted to make as many as he could, so he ended up with some very fat, very odd-looking ravioli. Mine were more even but when placed next to his, they seemed anemic.

Of course, our noodles and ravioli were cooked in the same pot as the rest of the table, so in the end there was no way to know how many of our own creations actually ended up on our plate.

The sauces were made collectively by the entire table. Marinara sauce was much more involved than I would have guessed – Seanie and his group spent a lot of time chopping up tomatoes, onions, and herbs. By contrast, the alfredo sauce was basically just dumping cream and cheese and butter into a pot and melting it all together. It was much faster and (in my opinion) much tastier.

When all the work was done, we sat together at the table to share the meal. It was delicious. The fresh noodles have a different texture and a little more flavor than the dry noodles I usually buy from the store, and it would be so easy to customize them with a little spinach or dried tomatoes or whatever. I really wish that we had the space to make noodles at home! The marinara sauce was much better than the store bought counterpart; I would actually eat it willingly. Surprisingly, the alfredo sauce wasn't as good. I think our ingredients ratio was slightly off, because it seemed a touch watery. But it blended really well with the marinara to make a creamy tomato sauce that matched beautifully with the ravioli.