22 November 2013

GUEST BLOG: Parcel force

By guest blogger CHRIS YOUNG

Most of the participants at the Cracking Good Food cooking session on Tuesday evening at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys had never endeavoured to make their own pasta from scratch or used a pasta machine before, so there was some excitement in the kitchen before we'd even started! The group was not only going to learn how to make pasta from scratch, but also how to turn it into two types of ravioli: one with a mouth-watering crab filling and a white wine and butter sauce; the other with a butternut squash filling and a hazelnut and brown butter sauce.

Kevin White, our pasta master chef, started out by showing how to make the dough from an easy recipe of just flour, eggs, olive oil and salt. These ingredients were added to a food processor and kneaded for a few minutes, then put into the fridge to rest. Kevin, aka Michelin-trained The Ginger Kid, then moved on to show how to get the maximum of fresh, cooked crab out of the shell and to check the meat thoroughly once it’s been removed (no one wants to bite down on a hard piece of shell or cartilage in the middle of their meal!). The participants then mixed the crab meat with fresh parsley, red chillies and seasoning ready to stuff the pasta with. They then moved on to the butternut squash filling: roasting the squash in the oven until soft, removing the flesh and mixing it with nutmeg and grated Parmesan. 

By this time, the dough was ready to work with and Kevin showed everyone how to use the pasta machine and how to cut and shape the resulting strips to create the perfect professional-looking pasta using the two fillings already prepared. The participants then cracked on with making their own perfect pasta, and the concentration was evident in the kitchen – and they did so well! Once the raw ravioli was ready, it was cooked in boiling water while the sauces were prepared. The white wine sauce for the crab ravioli was easily made and, when everyone sat down to eat together, there was a unison agreement that the hazelnut sauce was a perfect complement to the butternut squash pasta. Very good!

You can see more photos from this session on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page.

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