There have been some positives being sheltered in place during a pandemic in 2020, like learning to cook and bake new things. There was sourdough bread, pizza dough, refrigerator pickles, roasted cherry tomato sauce, chili verde from home grown tomatillos, and more.
My friend Diane invited me to take a Zoom cooking class; who had even heard of that in 2019?? Our teacher was Katrina of The Homestead Traveler. She recently returned from a sojourn in Italy where she honed her Italian heritage cooking skills from native Nonna’s and Nonno’s. For our class the recipe was Ragu Bolognese and Tagliettell, a staple in Italy. We learned that a real Italian would NEVER put oregano, basil or black pepper in ragu, that is a no no!
Some of the other ZOOMers
Soffritto mise en place
Our veggies were mise en place (prepare in advance is something I never do, I’m pretty much a hurricane in the kitchen!), which included soffritto, a staple in many cultures, which is finely diced onion, carrot and celery. Another Ragu basic is you always use ground beef and ground pork. And of course we threw in a cup of red wine. As we simmered the Ragu low and slow, we started on the new adventure, handmade pasta. If I knew how simple it was (except for the kneading and rolling workout!) I probably would have attempted this earlier. Flour, eggs, a dash of salt and a little water, that’s it. We made the little volcano, cracked the eggs into the well and got to it. It seems the key is kneading, kneading and more kneading. We let the dough rest for a bit, and then rolling, rolling and more rolling. You want that dough very thin, so you can almost see the pattern of the wood through the dough.
The simmering ragu
The pasta hanging to dry
The dough is sliced into wide noodles or tagliatelle and hung to dry (just like laundry) for me it was on coat hangers! With fresh pasta, it only takes a few minutes to cook, and soon we were enjoying the fruits of our labor, delicioso!!
This was a whole lotta fun, you really should try it with friends or family, it will definitely lighten the mood during our stay-at-home order, and the bonus of an awesome meal!
The finished ragu bolognese and tagliatelle
You can find a very similar ragu bolognese from The Homestead Traveler here.
We are hoping to host some online cooking and wine pairing classes with Katrina at Charles R Vineyards, so stay tuned!