Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I may never buy pasta again

Tonight we made fresh pasta and a plethora of sauces (mostly southern Italian style, Aglio e Olio variations for their freshness and fast cooking nature). We had a bit more lecture on pastas, sauces, regions of Italy and American-Italian cuisine, in all its perversions. After that we took a short break and then dove into the kitchen to practice. I made tagliatelle with salsa rosa (not southern, but just a bit of tomato paste, water and cream to kick it up) and basil chiffonade - so delicious. On thursday we will do some more pasta with central and northern sauces (bolognese, cream sauces, etc.) and we will also make pizza - real Italian pizza, no BBQ chicken, bastardized American variations, although they can be tasty, I'm not knocking them for that. We're talking pizza margherita, baby. Chef set up some granite (or some kind of stone) slabs in one of the ovens and turned it on this morning, full blast, and will leave it on for the next few days. The slabs will absorb and radiate the heat produced by the oven and will actually increase the temperate to somewhere between 600-700 degrees F. Real Italian pizza should really be cooked at 800 degrees F or higher, but this is about as good as we can get with a gas oven that normally only pushes 500.

A quick shout out to Tarin - you were right about the pronunciation of bruschetta. Not sure why I doubted you, considering you've spent reasonable time in Italy and speak the language to a degree, unlike my ignorant, unilingual selft (not to mention you were best man in my wedding and have never lied to me before, to the best of knowledge). Sorry I let all those hack-celebrity chefs convince me otherwise. But hey, we're always in the process of educating ourselves, aren't we? Forgiveness is divine.

At any rate, I may never buy pasta again. The fresh stuff was so delicious and so fun to make. I really, really, really want a chest freezer to be able to make batches of the stuff. The only time I may actually buy dry pasta would be for tubes like penne or rigatoni, the wife loves them. Those would just take too much time and be too much of a pain to make by hand. And the sauces! So incredibly fresh, tasty, and quick! My favorites are the aglio e olio pomodoro and peperoncini. The key is really great quality ingredients (because there aren't many in the sauce) and to never, ever burn the garlic. As Chef said "it's the second worse taste in the world." I'll have to let him tell you what the first is...

1 comment:

t said...

Instead of saying "I told you so" or "That's right B****" I substitute a more humble and appropriate message with a short Italian lesson. 'ci' makes a 'chi' sound, 'ce' makes a 'che' sound, and 'ch' make a 'k' sound. Americans like to take words in other languages to turn them to their own. For example, I have heard people in CA ask for a Keso-dila before.