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.
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).
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.
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!
Happy pasta making!