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Transformation by Tagliatelle

I have not had a great cooking week. No disasters, but a lot of not-quite-right results. So, instead of posting about this week, I will reminisce about past weeks. My best day ever was the day I got to make…. homemade pasta! Talk about a transformation. We used Gillian Hegarty’s recipe (one of the great cooks and teachers here) which includes egg yolks, semolina flour, and “00” flour.

You literally tear up the dough in almost whatever fashion you choose, but the end result is silky smooth, heavenly pasta! You know when to stop kneading by doing a simple “church window” test. You basically take a small section of your dough and kind of dimple it with your thumb. You keep indenting it until it’s as thin as it can get without breaking. If you can see light through it, your dough is ready. Basically, it looks like chewing gum that has been stretched out so much it is translucent.

I used a pasta machine to get my dough super long and thin. After pounding and tearing the dough and then very carefully using the pasta machine (each time passing the dough through, I changed the gauge so it became thinner and thinner), I feel like I transformed as much as my pasta. I went from aggression to joy. Pasta-making may be my new meditation!

Speaking of Gillian, she also showed us how to make the most delicious pumpkin risotto (“Risotto Alla Zucca”). It doesn’t look like much here, but it has all the best of risotto married with the best of pumpkin. More on this later…

One more plug for Gillian — also during the course, she showed us how to make a delicious zucchini recipe called Zucchini Trifilati. You basically fry zucchinis first, getting a little color on them, then add garlic, fennel, chilli, salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes on high heat, you turn the heat down and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes. When the zucchini is soft, you tear in mint, basil and zucchini flowers and ad a tablespoon of good quality olive oil. This dish looks like “the dog’s dinner” (an expression they use here a lot), because the zucchini looks so drab, but the flavor and soft texture are amazing.

One Response to “Transformation by Tagliatelle”

  1. Diane C. says:

    Mmmm, I love pumpkin, I love starch… That pumpkin risotto sounds like a killer combo of a dish.

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