I was lucky enough to be invited to an Italian cooking class at the newly opened Parma restaurant in Surry Hills. It seems that Sydney restaurants are continuing on their mission to teach me how to cook and I think some of the lessons may be rubbing off as I think after this class I'm give making pasta at home a whirl! Yes, really!
The class is run for a group of bloggers by Italian head-chef Alessandro Vinci-Cannava whose personality can only be described as larger than life. He's such a fun guy that I imagine working in his kitchen would be a hoot! Rumour has it that he was a regular on the Peruvian version of Ready, Steady Cook when he was living in Peru.
Half the class learnt how to make pizza dough, but I was more interested in seeing how to make your own pasta. I've seen pasta being made before in another class and it set the seed that perhaps it wasn't that hard...I just needed to see it in action again.
Whilst this class was mostly demonstration in terms of cooking the sauces, we got a chance to get our hands dirty with some pasta dough. Alessandro has been cooking for such a long time that he could tell just by looking out our doughs if they were too wet, too dry or just right (mine wasn't just right - but was easily fixed)! I'd never really clcoked before that there are eggs in pasta (der, I know) - and it made me realise I need to be aware and ask if a restuarant uses free-range eggs in their pasta (Parma didn't at the time of this class but now do - yay).
Next step was to roll out some pasta using their you-beaut pasta machine (tho Alessandro said we could use a rolling pin if we didn't want to invest in a pasta machine straight up). I loved the feel of working with the pasta. It went from a big gloopy mess to a smooth ball of dough and then turned into a silky soft sheet of pasta that I just wanted to bury my face in.
And of course pasta isn't pasta without a delcious sauce to go with it. Alessandro whipped up three beautiful sauces - all of which I think I could russel up at home: a swordfish puttanesca, a beautiful burnt butter sage sauce, and a simple pea + goats cheese sauce. The pea + goats sauce was mixed with the tagliatelle and then wrapped in eggplant and baked in the oven.
Ta da - look at our feast! Whilst the ricotta filled ravioli was beautiful I think I'm going to keeps things simple and try my hand at a simple tagliatelle with either the burnt butter sage sauce OR the puttanesca. Or maybe I'll make both.
Parma is at 285A Crown Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 9332 4974.