With a tendency to get “caught up” in my daily life, it is always a bit of fun to reflect back to May, when I was fortunate enough to attend classes at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine in Lucca, Italy. The joy of spending four days surrounded by others who were just as passionate about cooking as me was an incredible experience. Today, I’ll share Day Three.
Chef Laura Lorenzini was that day’s Guest Chef. The menu challenged us to create hand-made pasta, debone the lamb, and then grind the meat, and finally team up to create each dish. The team for me was the one making fresh pasta – Pappardelle to be exact.
Here’s how we started:
After measuring the farina (flour), we dumped it on the cutting board, and made a well in the center. After lightly beating the eggs, we added salt to the farina, then added 1/2 the eggs and olive oil; then we mixed with our hands. After the eggs were incorporated into the farina, we added the other 1/2 of the eggs.
And began to knead…and knead…and knead some more…. Once we kneaded the dough, Laura explained how to “feel” that the dough was ready for a rest. Phew! My poor wrists, arms, and hands were getting quite a work out…they were indeed ready to rest, too!
We divided the dough into large balls, covered with plastic wrap, and let them all rest peacefully, while we helped out the other teams with their duties in the kitchen.
Then, back to set up our pasta machine for rolling out the pappardelle. We started by rolling out the dough into long, wide pieces and feeding those into the pasta machine on a large number, going to smaller and smaller numbers on the dial as we made progress.
Laura instructed us to pull on the dough as it exited the machine, so that it would get longer and longer. On we went, until the machine was on 1.5 – then we knew the dough was thin enough to cut into strands.
Once we cut the dough into strands of pasta, we covered a sheet pan with semolina flour, sprinkled flour on the strands, and placed the pasta on the sheet pan to dry.
Back to the kitchen we went, where we helped our fellow studenti make the ragu bianco di agnello (lamb). But that’s a story for another day…
For now, we cooked the pasta, covered it with the ragu, and plated that wonderful deliciousness for all to enjoy.
Being fresh, the pappardelle cooks in a matter of moments.
Served al dente (“to the tooth”), with ragu of lamb and a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, we all sat down to enjoy the outcome of our morning lessons as a group over our homemade lunch. Buon appetito!