The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Italy (for me, at least) is pasta. Pasta is quite possibly one of the most delicious foods in the world. Macaroni, spaghetti, rigatoni, lasagna, with a ragu sauce, a tomato sauce, a cream sauce, a mushroom sauce, stuffed with ricotta, fried, baked–there are countless ways to eat it.
This week, I had the privilege of attending a class where we were taught how to make tagliatelle, ravioli, and gnocci. The first two use the same basic ingredients (flour, salt, and egg) while the third uses just potato and flour. An egg is cracked into a “volcano” of flour, sprinkled with salt, and then mixed until the dough has a cake-batter-like consistency. Then the dough is kneaded by hand until it becomes thick and no longer sticky. It is formed into a ball, covered with plastic wrap, and left to rest for a few minutes. After the rest period, the dough can be rolled out very thin and then cut into the right shape, depending on what kind of pasta is being made. Tagliatelle is cut into long strips, while ravioli is cut into squares. We used a simple filling of ricotta mixed with spinach for our ravioli.
The gnocci is even simpler: potatoes are mashed and the mixed with flour and salt until thick, then rolled into a long “snake” and cut before being boiled. The final product is a mushy kind of pasta that tastes delicious with a tomato sauce.
Hopefully when I return home I’ll be able to recreate some of the dishes that I’ve enjoyed here in Italia! Ciao for now!