As a pasta lover I have always wanted to be able to make my own, especially ravioli. So I signed up to a pasta making workshop at La Cucina Caldesi cookery school in London. The 3 hour course takes place in an outbuilding behind their restaurant:
We started off by learning how to make a selection of sauces to go with the pasta we were going to make: pesto, salsa de pomodoro, butter and sage, ragu... the chef gave very useful tips along the way. Then we got stuck in to making pasta from scratch, we made ravioli (stuffed with spinach and ricotta), pappardelle, and lasagne sheets. We used corn-fed chicken eggs which give the pasta dough a golden colour. It is really very simple to do, the only tricky thing is getting the knack of feeding the dough through the pasta machine.
Basic Pasta Fresca recipe - Makes enough to serve 4 as a main
200g '00' flour
(You need one egg for every 100g of flour)
1. Put the flour on a flat surface or in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack in the eggs and gradually mix in using a fork, pulling in the flour from around the edges. Use your hands to bring the dough into a ball.
2. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes. If it is too sticky add a little flour. It is ready when it springs back when pressed ('earlobe texture'!)
3. Take a 3rd of the dough and flatten it. Wrap the rest in cling film until needed. Feed the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting and finishing on the finest. Use up the rest of the dough in this way.
You can then use this dough to make all sorts of pasta. More recipes to follow once I have mastered the art of fresh pasta making!