During a ski retreat with friends this past weekend, not only did we get in great skiing, we also got lessons in the art of making fresh pasta. The kids were so excited -it is one of their favorite foods AND they were going to get to crack their own eggs. I must admit I was a lot happier having them do this in someone else’s kitchen.
As the kids lined up at their cooking stations I photographed and documented the proceedings. Our host/teacher is a proud graduate of the Mario Batali’s YouTube Culinary School and he led the class with the confidence of a seasoned culinary instructor.
The first step he taught us was to make a well in the flour for the eggs to go into. Next all the kids enthusiastically cracked their eggs and attempted to have it land in the well. This went surprisingly smoothly considering the age of the students. Everyone mixed his or her egg and flour until it formed a small ball of dough. And then, a crucial step, a cartoon was put on while the dough rested and the parents enjoyed some wine.
After the dough rested, we rolled it out flat and cut it into ribbons with a pizza cutter. Not the most efficient way to make linguine but a great substitute if you don’t have a pasta machine. With students all under the age of seven, the pasta turned out to be some unusual shapes and sizes, but tasted absolutely delicious. It certainly didn’t hurt that we topped it with a killer “gravy” that had been simmering on the stove all day!
Marc’s Pappardellesque Pasta
3 cups flour
4 large eggs
– This will make enough for 4-6 people, depending on portion size
Form the flour into a mound on a cutting board surface or in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it. Then take a fork, crack the yolks, and gently start swirling the eggs so the flour gradually combines with the eggs.
When the eggs have enough flour mixed in to not spill over the edge of your mound switch to using your hand to do the swirling. You can also do this in a food processor but will miss out on all the fun and mess of mixing it by hand.
Once the dough comes together it can be kneaded and formed into a small ball. To knead the dough press it out with the heel of your hand, fold it over, repeating this process until the dough is smooth, not sticky or tacky. This will take several minutes.
Before rolling, it needs to rest for at least 10 minutes. If you don’t intend to roll the dough within an hour, it can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before rolling.
When you are ready to roll, cut the dough into four equal pieces to make it more manageable. Sprinkle a bit of flour on your surface and roll the dough to the desired thin-ness, the thinner the better. Then take a pizza cutter, or a very sharp knife, and make ribbons of equal size. Lay the ribbons on wax or parchment paper as you cut them.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ribbons of pasta and cook for about 2 minutes. Fresh pasta cooks fast, be careful not to overcook!
Drain and serve with your favorite sauce. Or just toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
And the VERDICT is:
Everyone loved it and agreed that after a long night of cooking they deserved a dip in the hot tub!