Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pasta Making Class in Parma, Italy - Il Filare - Part 1 (Filling)

One of the highlights of hub and my recent trip to Europe was the pasta-making class in Italy that we signed up with the B&B that we are staying with. Hub has always been a fan of pasta and he can seriously make a mean dish out of it! It's thus 1 of our tasks to learn to make authentic italian pasta when we go on this 2nd trip to Italy. However, pasta making classes are really expensive, research on various sites showed prices to be at least 60 euros per pax to the very expensive 120 euros per pax. It usually includes a visit to the market in the morning to buy the produce, then off to the kitchen for a hands-on session, and ends with a eating session to taste your own pasta. 

By a stroke of luck, I read that one of the agriturismos, Il Filare, that we are staying in also teaches pasta making! It cost only 25 euro per person and teaches a variety of pasta - Ravioli, Tagliatelle, Gnocchi etc, over 3 hours. However, this does not include the dinner that we partake in afterwards, it's another 20 euros per pax for dinner, which was a fantastic spread that not only includes our home-made pasta but also a variety of other courses made with ingredients all from their own or surrounding farms, very fresh, good quality and superbly tasty!

The only gripe that we have is that the teacher, the mom of the agriturismo is not able to define the quantity of the ingredients used, going by touch and taste for the dishes. She gave us a rough guide but along the way, swipe away lots of the flour, then added some back, sprinkle bits and pieces of ingredients that we probably have to really trial and error our own way when we make pasta on our own again (Which we haven't done so!)

We took lots of pictures though, to try and note the process. Below will be the pictorial outline of our pasta class, along with the rough notes that we took!

We started with making the ragu bolognese, which is to be the sauce for the pasta. It requires simmering over 2-3 hours so always start with the sauce.

Ingredients: (No quantity as we could not catch the amount)
Carrots, onion,  celery, garlic, dry white wine, rosemary, garlic, basil, salt, tomato sauce, ground beef and sausages.

Steps: Minced the carrots, onions, celery and stir fry until fragrant, add the garlic (whole or minced), and dry white wine, continue to stir fry. Add the beef and sausages and let it stew for a while. Finally, add the tomato sauce (which can be the bottled tomato sauce or fresh home-made pureed tomatoes), basil and salt and let it simmer until it becomes a slightly dry mixture, there should not be too much liquid in the stew, the final ragu is seen in below silver and black pans in the middle.

We then started on the filling for the ravioli - Swiss Chards, Feta Cheese, Parmesan shavings, Nutmeg, Basil, Egg, Salt and Black Pepper.

Boil the swiss chards (can be replaced with vegetable of choice such as spinach or kale) until soft and chop into a mushy mesh. Stir fry onion in butter, add swiss chards, pepper, nutmeg and salt, cook until the mixture is dry. Let it cool, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Read the next post for the dough process!

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