Italian Cooking in Mexico

So I took a pasta cooking class in Mexico.

Makes sense, right?

It was offered at a neat little restaurant called Molika’s, owned by a Mexican man who did his culinary training and spent several years in the UK before returning to his hometown to open his own place.

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The class was demonstrative, which is never quite as fun as when chefs are brave enough to let amateur home cooks wield their own knives in a working kitchen, but it was entertaining nonetheless.  And you can drink wine while you watch (not recommended if you’re trying to impress a chef with your non-existent knife skills….okay, I speak for myself).

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We made pasta with olive oil and garlic (pasta aglio e olio), pasta with a basic tomato basil sauce, a puttanesca, a carbonara, a pesto pasta and a house specialty with a duck sauce.

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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

The information was pretty basic, but I wanted to share a few of the more interesting tidbits:

  • When you strain your pasta, reserve a bit of the boiling water.  When you add the olive oil you should stir/toss the pasta like crazy so that the olive oil and water (and whatever other sauce you have involved) begins to emulsify.  It makes for a creamier, less oily sauce. (Maybe this is obvious to some, and I think I knew in the back of my head that this was the thing to do, but I don’t do it.  I will now, though)
  • You should finish cooking your pasta in the sauce, if at all possible.  This means adding the (al dente) pasta and a bit of water to whatever sauce you’ve got on the go (tomatoes and basil heating in a pot, for example) for the last couple minutes.  This helps the pasta soak up all the sauce’s flavour.
  • My carbonara recipe includes egg yolks and cream.  The carbonara we made was just eggs (whites and yolks) and parmesan (no cream!).  It was great to know that you could make a delicious carbonara without as much of the fat!
Puttanesca

Puttanesca

Happy pasta making!

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