Fall is in full swing, which means our comfort food cravings are rising. And nothing satisfies the desire for comfort food like a steaming plate of pasta. But we’re not talking about overcooked noodles haphazardly mushed together with a jar of pre-made tomato sauce. We’re talking about the real stuff. We believe if you’re doing something you should do it right, especially when it comes to much-anticipated mealtime on a brisk Fall day. So, we hopped on a plane to Florence, and went right to Mama Florence Cooking School to learn the secret to making good pasta.
Here’s how to master the highly simple, yet highly feared, art of fresh pasta.
1. Two’s Company
Pasta is made from just two ingredients. Noodles are just flour and egg, plus a splash of water to moisturize your fingers and the dough as you knead away. That’s right: only flour and eggs, and splashes of water. Use simple all-purpose flour when you’re going with a sauce or filling that you want to take centre stage (like ravioli), but if you really want the noodles to sparkle, use semolina. Market-fresh eggs are key.
2. Work those arms!
OK, so you might not be a religious Crossfitter. But kneading and rolling out the dough requires effort. It’s important to get the egg thoroughly mixed within the flour to get a smooth dough, which can take time, so don’t rush it! Think of it as an alternative to your evening workout!
3. Keep your cool
You might need a rest after your marathon kneading session but that’s OK – your dough needs a break too. So wrap it and pop it in the fridge for an hour. Next – pour yourself a glass a wine, you’re doing great!
4. Simple is best
Yes, you need a pasta machine, but you don’t need a fancy one. Roll out the chilled dough to a rough rectangle, then feed the dough through the roller (at least 3-4 times) until it is silky smooth and thin. From there, cut the dough into strips – wide tagliatelle, skinny spaghetti, whatever you feel like. If you’ve made too much you can always toss the noodles in the freezer to use later.
5. Fresh is everything.
Making pasta the true Tuscan way means only using the freshest ingredients for the sauce, to complement the noodles, rather than overpower them. Grab some fresh tomatoes from the market, and make a simple sauce with olive oil, fresh basil and garlic. Splurge on top-of-the-line olive oil—it’s better than any sauce you can buy!
To cook at Mama Florence Cooking School, contact your concierge.
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