What fun I had with my friend Karen as we hit Gina’s Homemade to have a lesson on making pasta! I grew up in an Italian household, so making pasta from scratch is not a new thing for me. Now, with all the cooking shows and slow cooking movements, I love to explore other methods and learn maybe some new tricks and non-traditional approaches. After all, it’s not like there are five of us kids hanging around ready to help coat the kitchen in flour. Now it’s me and Denny, so the portions are smaller. A more elegant and efficient path to the boiling pot is always welcome.
The type of flour used is always a casual mention, a point of mystery, and I am still wondering whether it’s a matter of the 00 or All Purpose, or just knowing what you are doing with the egg to flour ratio. One woman along my journey said just sift All Purpose about 4 times and you have 00. It does come out a lot more fluffy! The flour, that is.
Gina has a nice, sensible approach to making pasta, and has a comfortable (if not crowded “cause the room is small) atmosphere where you are free to excel or just go along for the ride. Her cheese is pretty awesome, too. Not to mention the marinara sauce she made. A bonus in the class is that while we were waiting for our dough to rest, we made gnocchi. Now that is the all time Italian comfort food dish, at least in my book. We are talking “knee-OAK-key”, NOT “ga-knock-ee”. Yes, pronunciation makes it taste better.
One sacrosanct rule in my family was NEVER use eggs. Using eggs was considered cheating – weighting down the potato dough needlessly, making the gnocchi rubbery. Dare I admit what I am about to write????? Can this be my mother’s daughter that will set the following words down for the world to see? I ate Gina’s gnocchi that included eggs and it was GOOD. Light as a cloud. O my god – is the world as I know it going to end now? We always used a one-to-one riced russet (Idaho) potato to All Purpose flour ratio to keep it all intact and good. Gina uses a 2-2-2 approach. Two pounds of russet/Idaho, 2 eggs (large) and 2 cups of flour. She rices the potatoes and even rolls the dumpling on the tines of a fork like my mother did. Ridges make for good sauce adhesion.
My world has changed. But not my pronunciation! Mangia!