As a chef, one of the fun things that I really enjoy about food is understanding the “why” behind the product. Certain things, like geography, trade, and culture all contribute to why certain foods, dishes, and even seasonings are used – or scorned – in a recipe.
Given that fact that cereal grains form the backbone of agriculture in Asia and Europe, dishes that could be made with these could be found in every home and the economy of the regions kept prices low and supplies high.
Case in point – pasta. We normally think of it almost exclusively as an Italian dish, but in reality, it was probably brought to Italy in the trade routes opened by Marco Polo with the Far East in the thirteenth century.
Yep. “Pasta” is likely Chinese. At the same time, nearly every culture in Europe and Asia has some kind of noodle – but we usually forget about the German spaetzli, the Greek orzo, or the Polish pierogi.
All of these share a common ancestor in a flour paste mixed with water or eggs. As easy as that is to actually make in your own kitchen, too many times, I hear (and see!) students react with alarm at the thought of making their own pasta.
Why? It’s not hard – making bread is far more difficult.
It’s not expensive – the ingredients are easy to find and purchase and the only tools required can be had for a fraction of the cost of many kitchen gadgets.
It’s not time consuming – the actual time needed to produce enough pasta to feed six guests might be an hour.
No, the reason that so few people today enjoy making their own pasta is that many people believe it’s “too hard” … and nothing could be farther from the truth! After all, if something is truly difficult to make, how do you think that it can become so popular? How can it possibly become a staple in so many lands – remember, the humble noodle crosses far more borders and is found on tables the world over – and be so important for millennia?
If it was that hard to do, you and I both know that it would never have been so widespread as a foodstuff for so many years.
Now, here’s where I want you to think outside the box – the box of dried pasta sitting in your pantry – and come and see how easy it is to create your own fresh and healthy alternatives to overpriced (and underwhelming) store-bought pasta.
It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s one of the most popular classes here at the Culinary Classroom. My next class is THIS Saturday, 4/14/18 at 3:30pm and I would love to have you in class – I welcome teens, too!
Now, we’re not just talking ravioli here. In class, I teach how to make a wide variety of pastas – from Angel Hair to Bowties to Fettuccine – and lots of sauces to pair them with – and more importantly, as Spring begins, plenty of us are going to be thinking about our Summer Beach Bodies … and that brings me to one more important reason to attend this Pasta Class.
You can make Pasta healthy!
You can’t do that with that dried stuff in the box and a sauce filled with chemicals and preservatives but – here’s the important part – you can do it with fresh pasta and the light sauces we teach in class.
Over the years we’ve taught this class (it’s one of our most popular) the overall result has been that students learn how to create healthy, filling meals from scratch in a variety of tasty ways. I truly love teaching this class. Did I say it’s one of the most popular among my students, too?
The children in my kids camps love making the pasta by hand and even like eating the pasta without sauce. I teach Pasta making in my Culinary Basics Series and it is a real favorite at my Private Parties and Team Building Events. I mean, who doesn’t like to play with their food?