Classical Week 5

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In Classical this week, we were still cooking food from Italy. Matt really wanted to make the Tiramisu which was fine with me because I had never had Tiramisu that I liked. So instead of dessert this week, I made Tagliatelle al Peperoncino (Red Pepper Pasta) and Melanzane Involtino (Eggplant Roll) with Fresh Tomato Sauce.

I started out getting the eggplant roll ingredients ready. I needed 8 thin slices of the eggplant, ham, and mozzarella cheese. I started out trying to cut them on the mandolin, but the eggplant kept sticking to it and not sliding like it needed to. Then, when I would get it cutting, the very last part of the slice would rip off instead of cutting off. Frustrating! Natane suggested before I even got out the mandolin that I should use the deli slicer but I really, for whatever reason, didn’t want to go get it, lug it over, cut 3 things, then have to take it all apart and clean it. I forgot that everyone else would want to use it, too. So in the end I went and got the deli slicer, used it, and then got pounced on because everyone else needed it, too.

Let me take a moment here to say that I did my recipe cards. I always do my recipe cards. This week, though, I forgot to PRINT THEM. We have a laptop now so I save them and then print them later. Except I thought I printed them later and didn’t. This made me all discombobulated all class long. Marc emailed them to me so I had them on my phone and Natane let me use hers, too. It still had thrown me for a loop, though, and I felt off my game all day.

So I tried to slice ricotta solata cheese on the slicer because I misread the recipe and I only needed crumbled ricotta, not sliced. In any case, I got the eggplant soaking in salted water and moved on to making the pasta sauce. This Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe was so simple but really is delicious. Next time I would probably add a few more herbs to it, but that is really the point of the dishes we have been making. They focus on minimal ingredients with development of flavors.

Once that was done, I moved on to making my pasta. I have made pasta only once before and that was in Asian. I ended up overworking my dough and the noodles were a little tough. Next time I would handle the dough less, wrapping it once the ingredients JUST came together into a loose dough. When it sits and chills, the dough will absorb the water, kind of like a pie dough. I would also roll it to a thinner setting and try to use less flour in the rolling process. I was happy, though, that I was able to hold it and rewarm it without overcooking it. Phew. That is what I know I need the most work on, or what I am least confident in- holding food until service. I am really working on that, but it is definitely a challenge with certain foods.

While all this was going on, Natane and Matt were in “standing around” phases of their foods. So Matt was doing our group’s dishes and Natane put the eggplant rolls together for me and popped them into the oven. We plated, presented, and chowed down on some delicious Italian food!

I adored Ian’s mystery amuse bouche sautéed polenta with endive and swordfish creation.

I didn’t care much for the roulade, as it wasn’t very tender. Again, time limitations in class sometimes have drawbacks. The eggplant roll was actually delightful with the tomato sauce. The tiramisu, unfortunately, was a fail but Matt knows this. One bite was literally like taking a shot of liquor and none of it set up, really. Overall it was a good week, though.


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