Listening to the Radio 4 Food Programme Podcast a few weeks ago I was enthralled by the economics of durum wheat and pasta. Seems there is a shortage right now and the main pasta manufacturers have cornered the market. You need a dry hot climate to grow durum so we don’t be diversifying anytime soon here in New Zealand but it’s good to be able to make our own pasta nevertheless. After a few attempts which have produced remarkably good pasta it was still a case of trial and error.
In true perfectionist style I decided that this was one culinary adventure that we needed some expert help. Tonight we took a hands on cooking class in pasta making at the local specialist Italian foodie emporium La Bella Italia. MT was rather more competitive about it than I could have foreseen but the added pressure to perform well didn’t stop me enjoying the experience.
There is something special about learning from someone who really knows what they are doing. The tricks and techniques that you’d never learn from a book. With only 12 people in the class there was plenty of opportunity to get help and be able to ask questions from the Head Chef Gabriele. Also, in true Italian style there was plenty of hospitality – drinks and antipasto – to get the evening off to a great start.
We ended up making enough pasta to feed a small army. We’ll make the most of it this weekend and the rest will be carefully packed in the freezer for another day. Funnily enough someone mixed up the ravioli on the trays so it will be near impossible to tell whose pasta was the best. Perhaps best to declare it a a draw – this time at least!