July 23, 2011

Pasta Workshop

Last night I taught at Dish it up! in Magnolia. My Italian Summer Supper class which will be coming up again in a few weeks at the Ballard location. A bit demonstration and lots of hands-on Pasta making during my Pasta Workshop.

A handful of my students last night had never made fresh pasta before so it was a blast to see their reaction to the process. We had a few veterans that of course made perfect dough and rolled out gorgeous sheets of pasta! Even the first-timers rolled out sheets of pasta like pros! The best part of the Pasta Workshop by far was witnessing what we ended up with..... adorable and uniquely organic shapes of Ravioli. Some tiny bursting with filling and others massively large with a tiny bit of filling. All different shapes and sizes, but we kneaded and worked the dough with love so every single ravioli was delicious!

These summer ravioli can be stuffed with any of your favorite cheese combinations. When ambling through the farmers' market this summer fill your basket with squash blossoms and fresh basil. If you can't find squash blossoms, go for fresh oregano, basil, Italian parsley and baby spinach. Flour is important when making fresh pasta, venture out to a specialty market to pick-up Tipo 00 flour!

Victoria's Egg Pasta Dough
1lb Tipo 00 Flour
10 large egg yolks
2 large eggs

On a counter-top or in a bowl place the flour in a mound and make a well in the middle of the pile. Crack the eggs into the well and using your fingers or a fork stir the eggs together and slowly incorporate into the flour. Work the eggs into the flour until a dough forms. If you started in a bowl, dump the mixture out onto a counter-top and knead the dough for 3-5 minutes by pressing, pulling and squashing into the table. Reshape and knead. This process develops the gluten and creates springy and silky pasta so make sure to work with it for a least a few minutes. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is resting make Summer Cheese Filling.

Rolling Pasta Dough
The mammas of Italy roll their dough by hand. However, I was taught in a Tuscan kitchen with a good old-fashioned pasta machine. I recently bought the Kitchen-Aid pasta roller attachment which is fabulous!! Although I'm quite fond of my old pasta machine, no amount of hand-rolling can ever equal that of a pasta machine, whether it's electric or hand-powered.

Dust your work surface with a bit of flour. Through this process lightly dust pasta with flour if it is at all sticky.

Cut a small piece of dough about the size of an orange from the ball. Flatten with your hand into a disk.

Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and roll the flattened dough through the machine. Repeat this step.

Click the machine down to the next setting and roll through. Fold in half lengthwise and click back up to the widest setting. Roll the dough through this setting and then click down a setting and roll through. Again fold in half and repeat this step several times.

Roll through all of the settings from the widest to the narrowest, or whatever your preference is. For Ravioli and Noodles you may want to go down to the 2nd or 3rd narrowest setting.
After rolling down to desired thickness. Fold in half lengthwise, then in half again, repeat 2 more times until you have a square piece. Turn 90 degrees and feed through the machine at the widest setting down to desired thickness.

Filling Ravioli
Lay the pasta sheets out on a well-floured surface. Place a heaping teaspoonful of filling on the dough approximately 2-inches apart. Using a pastry brush dipped in water lightly brush water around the filling. Place another sheet of pasta dough on top of the sheet of dough with filling and gently press the dough down and around each of the fillings; properly sealing ravioli is a must, otherwise you'll end up with all of the filling in your cooking water and empty noodles. After properly sealed, cut into ravioli shapes with a fluted pastry wheel. After cut and sealed, cook in gently boiling salted water for a few minutes. Toss with Beurre Noisette (recipe below) and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Summer Cheese Filling
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large handfuls of squash blossoms, chopped
small bunch fresh basil, chopped
10 ounces fresh ricotta
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
4 ounces pecorino romano
pinch or 2 of sea salt

In a medium saute pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft, add chopped squash blossoms and cook for approximately 30-seconds to 1 minute. Let the mixture cool. In a bowl mix together the cooled garlic and squash blossoms with the basil and cheeses.

A Note on Squash Blossoms
If squash blossoms aren't available, don't fear....saute a few cups of baby spinach with the garlic. Make sure to squeeze dry once cool if the mixture becomes wet. Also delicious and one of my favorite summer ravioli recipes is to increase the basil to a large bunch and leave out the blossoms. Summertime is the time for Porcini mushrooms aka Cepes, so saute with a few sprigs of oregano and thyme, pull out the stems before mixing with the cheese.

Beurre Noisette (Brown Butter Sauce)
1/2lb or 2 sticks unsalted butter
small wedge of Parmesan, grated

In a saucepan set over medium heat warm the butter until just starting to turn golden brown and the aroma becomes toasted and nutty. Pull off heat and toss with freshly boiled Summer Cheese Ravioli. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.

Buon Appetito!!


  1. Can this be made GF? Is Tipo 00 a GF flour? Please help me make some fabulous GF pasta!

  2. Hi there Unknown (do you have a name?), Pasta can definitely be made GF! I'll be teaching a GF Pasta Workshop this winter at PCC, schedule should be up soon on their website. My class will start up in February and run through March. Tipo 00 is made with wheat, therefore no it is not GF, however DeLaurentis in the Pike Place has been known on occasion to sell a GF Blend of Tipo 00, I've only been able to find in bulk containers so I steer clear of that just in case of any cross-contamination. Hope to see you this winter!