Food at 52, kitchen confidence part two, cookery school, London

After the success of last week, I was eagerly anticipating week two of cookery school, especially as G, one of my team, had raved about the pasta masterclass he and his wife joined on Sunday, and this week we were making pasta.  This week I worked with H and D who are doing all three classes and R who enjoyed it so much last week , he brought his partner with him. I know I said it last week but it really is such a lovely group of people. We have fast become friends and are planning drinks and more cookery courses.

Our menu tonight is:
Roasted butternut squash and biscotti ravioli with Sage and lemon butter
Risotto negra with squid and king prawns
Normandy pear tart

We start by lining a tart case with shop bought shortcrust which we then pop back into the fridge while we poach our pears, half in red wine and half in white.

Then we blind bake them. Next, we move to our ravioli, I can’t lie, I am a little disappointed that we don’t make the pasta from scratch, especially because G had such a great day on Sunday doing just that. Instead, we start a production line of rolling, cutting and filling.

It’s going pretty well apart from our first batch which  are a little thick, D, who works in a bank, can’t count to 6 and forgets to run the pasta through the last setting. John puts on an extra pan so we can cook the fat batch for a little longer. It’s a satisfying process and, as you can see, we are unlikely to get a star anytime soon as ours were distinctly un-uniformed.

Ross tells us that the reason we eat pasta al dente is because Italians are impatient when it comes to lunch and so pasta is served with a little bite, in order to serve it as fast as possible.  While they cook, we melt butter with sage and lemon with which we bathe our little parcels of love.

They are delicious, the sweetness of the squash and biscotti, offset by the umami of parmesan and the slight acidity in the buttery sauce.

These definitely work best as a starter, rather than a main. After devouring these, we set about making frangipane, trim our pastry cases and artistically arrange the poached pears, before returning it to the oven.

It’s time to start work on our risotto. We use carnaroli rice which is a little longer and has a little more bite than Arborio. We use wine and stock and a lot of love. Taking this off the heat, we add some more stock and let it rest while we prep our prawns, easy, and our squid, a little more involved.

Once prepared, we quick fry these off and plate. I think it looks pretty damn good.

We finish with more wine and the Normandy pear tart which was crisp, light and buttery.

See you next week for the final instalment.

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