According to the National Pasta Association, pasta is one of America’s favorite foods. In 2000 alone, 1.3 million pounds of pasta were sold in American grocery stores. If you lined up 1.3 million pounds of 16 oz. spaghetti packages, it could circle the Earth’s equator almost nine times.
Now, if you want to get really cute, multiply that by nine, factoring the argument that “in this economy” (God, I hate that term) people are eating more pasta than they were about ten years ago, we’re talking about a serious pile of spaghetti.
As much as I love the ease and convenience of boiling a pot of salted water and ten minutes later – Voila! Fettucine! – you have dinner on the table, I learned recently that there is nothing better than a plate of fresh, handmade pasta topped with a simple sauce.
Several weeks ago, my friend Jen and I signed up for a pasta-making class at a local hidden gem called The Urban Kitchen.
Located on a small side street in Hoboken, The Urban Kitchen offers gourmet cooking classes for small groups or private parties.
Though they have an extensive series of seasonal cooking classes, on this particular Friday night we were making pasta.
Our instructor, Chef Linda, was a dynamic culinary enthusiast who regaled us with amazing stories of her upbringing in Venezuela while she taught us how to mix and knead silky pasta dough.
We made two types of pasta: spinach linguine and ravioli with fresh crab and marscapone cheese. We eventually topped the pasta with al aioli and fresh tomato sauce, respectively.
Chef Linda guided us through the process of kneading dough by hand, for those who don’t own a stand mixer.
Everyone took turns kneading the dough (with freshly washed hands)!
At the end of the class, we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labor over
good wine ten dollar bottles of wine that we’d picked up on the way to the class:
Despite the incidental garlic overdose and excessive calorie consumption that likely occurred as a result of the class, it was a great time and I left with some solid tips for creating a perfect pasta dinner.
It was also nice to spend a few hours with strangers who like to cook and eat as much as I do…and no one was shy about going back for seconds!
What is your idea of a perfect pasta dinner??
Home with MandyMay 11, 2009 at 3:00 am
This looks freakin fantastic! Loved the photos!! I gave you a blog award, check it out on my page. http://www.homewithmandy.com
DanielleMay 8, 2009 at 3:00 am
Loved your pictures! Pasta-making is so much fun (I took a class a few years ago). Unfortunately my husband did our pasta machine in by attempting to clean it, so I’ll have to live vicariously through your pictures.
ShainaMay 7, 2009 at 3:00 am
I would love, love, love to go to a pasta-making class. How fun! It looks delicious.
shainaoMay 7, 2009 at 3:00 am
I am so incredibly jealous. I would love, love, love to go to a pasta class. It looks delicious.
Phoo-DMay 1, 2009 at 3:00 am
I need a class like this! My pasta attempts have been a struggle to put it mildly. Your dinners turned out beautifully.
kelly61May 1, 2009 at 3:00 am
I’m big on chicken noodle soup with BUTTERBALLS (an old german recipe from my grandma). I usually make the noodles from scratch because they are so easy! I don’t much worry about consistent size, just whip ’em up and cut ’em!
TeannaApril 29, 2009 at 3:00 am
There is nothing better than making pasta from scratch! I’ve been doing it recently without a pasta machine and it is totally worth it!
Cate O'MalleyApril 29, 2009 at 3:00 am
Sounds like a great class! My favorite pasta dish, I think, is tortellini with alfredo … and now I have a craving for it, thankyouverymuch.
Lorraine @NotQuiteNigellaApril 29, 2009 at 3:00 am
That class looks great Maris! And I agree, fresh pasta is amazingly good stuff 😀
LeslieApril 29, 2009 at 3:00 am
I love homemade pasta!
Looks like a fun class to take!
CatherineApril 29, 2009 at 3:00 am
My favorite candy: Teuscher Champage truffles….
JeffApril 28, 2009 at 3:00 am
Nicely done and looks like a great class.
I got a pasta maker for Christmas and have been tinkering with it in my off time. I wish they offered something like that over because I would sign up in a heartbeat.
RebeccaCApril 28, 2009 at 3:00 am
I have always, always wanted to try making my own pasta. Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t. Might have to look for some classes in Chicago. Looks so pretty!
SaraApril 28, 2009 at 3:00 am
I have a pasta roller that I never use. And everyone is blogging about homemade pasta! I guess that’s a sign that I need to make some too 🙂
ElissaApril 28, 2009 at 3:00 am
For my 16th birthday, I actually invited my two best friends over and we made pasta. We made a whopping four kinds – herbed pasta (became ravioli with rosemary butter), pink linguine (colored with beet and served with a cream sauce), spinach spaghetti (with tomato sauce, mmm) and finally saffron pasta (tossed with olive oil and sun dried tomatoes.)
Now that’s I dream about when I think pasta, although yours looks like it might make it to my table sometime soon!
MattApril 27, 2009 at 3:00 am
You know Maris, that seems like an awful lot of work.
I love spaghetti for the pure and simple fact that it is EASY to make.
and here you are, trying to ruin that!!!
Food HunterApril 27, 2009 at 3:00 am
Sounds like a great class. I love making fresh pasta. we just don’t do it often enough.
alexandraApril 27, 2009 at 3:00 am
I adore pasta, too. I really do.
Hmmmm …. a perfect pasta dish? Well, I was obsessed with the fresh papardelle Tartufate served at Melograno in Philadelphia for the 5 years I lived there. But I’m a real sucker for any type of homemade ravioli — butternut squash, beet, fava bean, whatever. That said, a bowl of spaghetti with butter and parmesan sometimes does the trick, too.
The Urban Kitchen sounds like a blast!
Blond DuckApril 27, 2009 at 3:00 am
I LOVE pasta! I’ve never had it from scratch. I can only imagine how amazing it is!
Jenn@slim-shoppinApril 27, 2009 at 3:00 am
I love taking cooking classes, they are always so much fun!
Your home made pasta looks amazing. I’ve only tried making pasta once, and that was enough, it turned out horrible.
Someday, I will have to try it again!
AshleyApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
That is AWESOME! Homemade pasta is amazingly good, I just never have made it myself.
I have a thing for penne ala vodka, with a great rich creamy vodka sauce and alittle bit of bacon. The gnocci I had in a tiny mom and pop restaurant in Sorrento, Italy was some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. it just melted in my mouth (and after 5 bites I was full for a week).
thatShortChickApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
I’ve always wanted to take culinary classes which makes me think of that episode of WIllGrace when Will takes a cooking class by himself and the instructor (played by Tracey Ullman) makes fun of him.
Ok, sorry for geeking out there.
My ideal pasta dish includes homemade pasta noodles and sauce, fresh herbs and cheese. served with a giant salad and (equally giant) glass of wine.
KerstinApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
How cool – I would love to take a few culinary classes! You’ve inspired me to look into getting the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid!
bodelouApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
homemade manicotti. it was one of the first recipes i took from my mom when i moved into my first place with a kitchen, and it is a staple in my repertoire.
also anything spicy. another fave is bowties with sweet italian sausage, in a spicy cream and tomato based sauce.
looks like your class was a blast 🙂 so jealous
elraApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
Must have been a great experience. I never been to any cooking class at all. This just make me thinking what a great idea to at least attend one.
Heidi RenéeApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
My stepmom gave me a pasta maker for Christmas a few years ago but I have sadly never used it. Oops.
SophieApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
At our house, we sometimes make fresh pasta, because it is easy!!
But sometimes, we don’t bother!
I love pasta with a lot of things but I don’t have a favourite. It depends on the season.
PaulaApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
I am a massive fan of spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti bolognese and lasagne.
But in terms of something easy, you can’t beat some macaroni with a bit of butter mixed in and grated cheeese on top!
ksgoodeatsApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
What a fun evening! That class sounds like a blast!!
I had the best lasagna once – it was like a spinach artichoke stuffing (instead of traditional red sauce/tomato) with asparagus. Divine!
MelissaApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
That looks like so much fun.
I only ever made home made pasta once. My friend’s Italian family always made fresh ravioli for their Easter celebration. One year I was at their house the night before and got to help. I think my friend was less than enthused to be making ravioli for the 1000th time but I was psyched.
PearlApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
my mom and grandma used to make noodles from scratch, when i was younger. they’d roll out the dough and then slice it with their huge knives to the desired thickness – my youngest brother, therefore, had grown up eating those, and so whenever my mother decided to use store-bought noodles, he’d be able to tell the difference immediately and refuse to touch his noodles. i’ve used that pasta maker machine once, when i was in high school cooking class!
beyondApril 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
i’ve never made pasta from scratch although i have been longing to. what’s in the fettucine dough? herbs? olives? looks delicious.
i agree with the perfect pantry: if your ingredients are good, it’s hard to go wrong with pasta dishes. i like keeping it simple.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)April 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
Pasta with butter, garlic, salt and pepper, and the best Parmigiano-Reggiano I can afford — if each ingredient is perfect, the dish is heaven. The class looks like lots of fun and a great way to unwind (ha!) after work.