Day 37: Italian Pastas, YES PLEASE!
We’ll we finally landed in Italy today and for the most part I was pretty impressed (we didn’t actually travel there for all those gullible ones out there). We made pasta dough (spinach, egg, and plain), lasagna, gnocchi, and ravioli! Also made a tomato sauce that tasted more like minestrone soup to me because of all the pureed vegetables in the sauce. The sauce wasn’t horrible, but let’s just say if I were to ever make it again there would definitely be so tweaking done. Making dough is pretty relaxing, I must admit. Kneading the dough is fun and getting your hands all gooey is another perk of the job. I worked with My-Tree again today who I have grown fond of.
After our gorgeous doughs were formed, we began working on using the pasta maker to stretch our dough out to form the correct shape. For the lasagna we cooked spinach and folded it into the dough creating a pretty green color. We didn’t use our ricotta cheese for the lasagna because we made a béchamel sauce to pour into it instead. I had another problem with this because all lasagna’s (in my opinion need some ricotta cheese in it- let alone the fact that ours was HOMEMADE!). So, into the little lasagna pan went béchamel, meat sauce (from yesterday), pasta layer, Parmesan cheese, and that cycle continued till we reached the top. We put that sucker in the oven and let it get baked. In the meantime, we started preparing for the gnocchi.
Gnocchi, aside for spaghetti and meatballs, is another one of my favorite Italian dishes. Chef said that Gnocchi is usually served with a light sauce (butter or creamy tomato), but I have to disagree with that because gnocchi to me is best with the perfect tomato sauce (Las Brisas on Hollywood Beach knows what’s up). I was really excited to learn how to make gnocchi and it is relatively easy. First, you need to bake your potatoes and then you put it through the grater. Next, you add the eggs and flour into the potatoes (incorporating it all together). Then you keep adding flour till it reaches the perfect moisture level. Once it is done you chop it up into little gnocchi shapes, blanch them in hot water, and then when you are ready to serve it- you sauté them in with the sauce. We made them in a butter sauce today and ours turned out beautiful and delicious! Chef said we did great, but could use a little more salt. Nothing is salty enough for these chefs, my gosh! Don’t they know salt is not good for you.
After the gnocchi, we moved on to ravioli. Like I’ve mentioned before, by the end of class I sometimes have no choice but to turn my autopilot on. With that being said, I am sure you aren’t surprised to hear that when My-Tree and I brought our ravioli dish up to chef he said laughing “Looks like Chef Boyardee made this”. HAHAHHAHAH- talk about amateur hour. We used the classic tomato sauce with all the pureed vegetables (not my fav), but making the ravioli’s were fun. We finally got to use the ricotta cheese with chopped up herbs as the filling. Once we shaped our ravioli, we followed the same procedure for cooking gnocchi, but this time instead in butter, we used the tomato sauce. I ate the ravioli like a picky four year old, only scooping out the ricotta cheese. By the end, my plate looked like a dinosaur took it’s claws and went to town on it’s prey.
Tomorrow is flounder your way! I have to come up with my own recipe and two side dishes to plate with it. I’m not going to lie I want NO hassle, so I am doing only the things I really know how to cook- creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms and spinach! I’m calling it a day, but will use the ideas from the recipes I received from you all to cook the flounder! The ingredients we are allowed to use are limited! Oh lord, I’m not going to lie, I am kind of nervous! Hope I don’t have an Epic El moment! Cross your fingers for me!