Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pasta Making Class in Parma, Italy - Il Filare - Part 2 (Pasta Dough)

The first question the chef asked was whether we have a pasta machine at home... we shook our heads and she gave us a wry smile. "Alright, then we will do it by hand!" Thus started a long but fun knead, roll, cut process. 

First, we started with 300g strong flour (high-protein), 3 eggs and 1 yolk. Making a well in the middle of all the flour, we placed the eggs and yolk in the middle. 

Then we slowly toss the flour into the egg mix, coaxing the flour to mix with the egg into a dough. In the process, the chef did push away a fair bit of the flour, asking for a consistency that is slightly bouncy and not dry nor wet. I think this will take many trials before we can get it right. To knead the dough, we have to use 2 hands, and turn the dough clockwise (or anti clockwise) with each knead so that all parts of the dough are needed. Once the dough is a smooth ball, set it one side and cover to rest for around 30 minutes. The dough can be used once an indentation to the ball stays indented. 

After dividing the dough into small portions, we then used a giant roller to roll the dough out into a very thin layer. This has to be really thin. So, roll and roll and roll away! 

Once done, fold the dough up and cut into thin strips as seen in the picture above, unroll the strips and set them to dry out until ready to be used. There should be at least an hour.

Alternatively, if you have a pasta machine at home, it can be easily rolled out, just like below!

The next pasta we tried our hands on was the ravioli. It's the same dough, rolled out into a very thin rectangle. Place the chilled filling onto the roll, flip the top part down, over the filling, press down tightly around the dough to ensure the dough is sticking to each other, then separate each ravioli with a pizza cutter. 

Again, set them aside in the fridge, until ready for use. 

For the last pasta, we made Gnocchi, a potato pasta. This is my favourite pasta as it's bouncy and chewy in texture, has more bite compared to normal pasta. We have absolutely no idea in terms of the quantity as it was purely her measuring them out by feel! So all we got were pictures and probably, we have to consult books or google for recipe measurements elsewhere. 

Making gnocchi required us to roll the dough into long skinny rolls, cutting them into small cubes, then rolling them over the fork to create an indentation.

All done using their own grown organic flour, which they kindly gave us a precious packet to bring back to SG!

On to 3rd part for the final cooked dinner!

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