Pasta Part Two

Prosciutto Canapés (Cooking)  

Orecchiette Con Ragu Di Maiale (More Handmade Pasta)

Braised Artichokes

Buttery Jam Cookies with Lemon Sorbet (Baking)

 The Story Behind It:

Remember back in November when I attempted to make orecchiette and it turned out like bloated dumplings? Well I don’t take these kinds of dinner disasters lightly so I enrolled myself in another handmade pasta class taught by Chef Gerri. It was great to see Chef Gerri again and when she asked who would like to work on the orecchiette my hand shot up. I had to redeem myself! I learned to make the dough using semolina and most important Chef Gerri demonstrated how to roll the dough out into thin logs and then form the shape. I felt far more confident and knew I could deliver. Besides, John wouldn’t be happy about eating the same disaster twice.

The Story About It:
The dough for the pasta came together easily and I let it rest for about 45 minutes. This time I was able to roll the dough out into thin logs (last time I couldn’t get it to roll well). I showed John how to shape the pasta with the knife and he told me he remembers his Grandfather shaping this kind of pasta just with his thumb. This technique worked and I liked to be able to incorporate family history into my cooking. 
Once the pasta was complete I started work on my sauce. I sautéed a mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery and garlic) in olive oil, added pancetta and then added the ground pork. As the meat browned I added white wine, and then some pureed tomatoes. John came in at this point and made some suggestions, which I am sure he’ll tell you about. He thought the sauce pan was a little small and I agreed so we got out the larger pan and let the sauce finish cooking. While the sauce cooked I cut down artichokes (my favorite!) and let them braise in white wine (for some reason when fully cooked they tasted bitter).Then I made canapés this time using prosciutto. Last week I used radishes, which John vetoed and I have to agree the prosciutto canapés were much better. In the meantime I boiled the pasta and once it was cooked I mixed it directly into the sauce (we love when Lidia does this) served it forth and waited for my review… which was a good one! I totally owed this week’s success to Chef Gerri. (For dessert we had a scoop of lemon sorbet and buttery jam cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking. I am baking my way through that awesome book and am in the middle of the cookie chapter.) John’s Side of the Story:

I was looking forward to tonight’s dinner because I can remember being a boy staying by my Grandparents house and my Grandpa always made his own pasta.  The pasta Marissa was going to make was the same type so I could not wait to see how much I remembered. Sure enough after making 1 or 2 shapes I remembered just how he taught me.  I used to stand on a chair at the end of the counter and shape the pasta.  I loved to do thing with him all the time.  I guess he gave me an appreciation for the garden as well as preparing food.  He loved to cook for the family that is why Christmas Eve was always a big night; everyone had to attend no excuses.  Grandpa was big on respect if that was gone there was nothing.  Well back to dinner.  The sauce looked good, but it definitely needed to go into the larger pan.  I also felt that the carrots could have been pushed through the strainer in order to make the sauce silkier rather than chunky.  The flavor was great and I was happy it felt like a meal with the meat in the sauce.  It wasn’t like just having pasta with no meat.  The cookies were very good.  Next time they could have some more jam so that you know it is in there and not just a hint. I also felt that they could brown a little more next time.  All in all the meal was great and I was able to remember what my Grandpa had taught me.  It is true people live on even though they are not physically here.  The memories and lessons that they taught will live on forever.  Oh before I sign off for this week, did I mention I was my Grandfather’s favorite? 

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