I recently had the sheer joy of attending a pasta making class in Tooting with Elisabetta Costantini from Minestra Supper.
I love eating pasta. But I have never really thought about making it.
I have seen contestants making pasta on MasterChef. It looks amazing when they make their own ravioli stuffed with lobster and truffles. But seriously I’m not going to make that.
Pasta in our home is a quick meal for a hungry family. We have our usual stalwarts – sausage pasta with broccoli and rosemary, cream and lardons, or just a simple spaghetti with anchovies and garlic.
And to be honest, making my own pasta, it seems like
Learning to make pasta with Elisabetta Costantini from Minestra Supper
Elisabetta hosts her pasta making classes in her own home. It’s great to see this is where the pasta magic happens.
Within minutes of arrival Elisabetta has me wearing an apron and measuring out flour on to a wooden board.
The secret to good pasta? It’s all in the flour
This is the big take away for me, that the flour I use really matters.
If I want to make my own pasta I need to go out and source Italian 00 flour as it’s purer than the usual plain flour I use for my cakes and bakes.
Note to self, seek out Italian deli.
And the eggs matter too
The quality of eggs makes a real difference. The yolk needs to be rich and yellow, verging on orange, and large eggs are best.
Elisabetta is from Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, the same region that Parmesan originates from. In this region pasta is made with flour and eggs, the further South you go, pasta is made with flour and water.
Pasta making is physical
The flour is measured, a mound of blindingly white flour is formed into which I scoop out a well. I crack in three eggs. My well is too small and my eggs run down the side like eggy lava, taking a trail of flour with it.
I quickly try and rescue the situation, and using my hands I scrape up the flour and egg together. My effort to knead flour and egg into a dough is pathetic. I should have a nice smooth ball of dough, but my escaping eggs mean I now have a dry, crumbly, floury lump.
Elisabetta spots that I have a tonne of wet pasta stuck to my board. We scape it up and add it my dry lump. A couple of drops of water and the consistency of my pasta dough is just about right.
My pasta kneading action is wrong. The chief problem is I’m kneading the dough like a wuss.
I need to use my full body weight and give this dough a good pounding, using the heel of my hand to stretch and knead the dough. This takes force and effort. I am building up a sweat!
Time to make pasta
In Elisabetta’s class, we make two types of pasta: tagliatelle and cappelletti.
We learn to master the pasta maker, rolling out sheets of pasta. Each sheet is rolled five times, gradually getting the right level of thinness. These are draped across the kitchen and left to dry. In the meantime, Elisabetta whips up ricotta and parmesan to create a filling for our cappelletti.
I could happily sit in a corner and eat the cappelletti filling. It’s simply ricotta, and a lot and I mean a lot of parmesan, a scraping of nutmeg, pepper and salt.
We cut little pasta squares and stuff and shape our cappelletti pasta. It’s fiddly work, squishing the ricotta into the pasta, squeezing and folding, but soon I am in a rhythm, getting into the pasta making zone. This is therapeutic.
The tagliatelle is easier, as soon as the pasta sheets are dry enough, we use an extension to the pasta machine to cut our sheets into thin strips.
In minutes I have a mountain of tagliatelle.
Time for lunch
The class ends with us getting the chance to taste our efforts with a glass of wine.
We enjoy our tagliatelle with a homemade tomato sauce, and the cappelleti is served with a simple butter and sage sauce. Both are divine.
Will I be making my own pasta?
I absolutely will.
My experience of Elisabetta’s pasta making class in Tooting was glorious.
I loved the fact in two hours I gained this new skill, I got to eat my effort, and I had enough pasta to bring home for the family to enjoy. I am a pasta making convert.
There was enough pasta to take home to feed the family. We ate this with a creamy sauce and lardons. There wasn’t a scrap left, and double thumbs up all around.
If you want to take a pasta making class in Tooting
You can contact Elisabetta at Minestra Supper for her next pasta making class. Classes start at £45 per person for a two-hour class.
*I was kindly gifted the pasta making class by Minestra Supper.