I have always dreamed of having a “Tuscan Italian” accent instead of this red-neck tobacco spitting mumble I was born with. And with those “Oh So Masculine” words and the ability to make Momma Gina’s homemade raviolis and tomato sauce, I could conquer the world like Julius Caesar! So how to begin mastering this bravado and romantic cooking skill? By arranging for an evening with Chef Joe Impullitti of the Laguna Culinary Arts School. Joe’s talents include over 25 years of adult education and a passion for authentic Italian cuisine. His dishes reflect his heritage, practical experience, and an enthusiasm for the culinary arts. So that’s what we did. Joe showed up around 4:00 PM and by 8:00 PM that night we had made ourselves an Italian Pasta Feast.
The first thing Joe did was give me a quick education a few Italian absolutes:
- Pomodori Pelati Italiani: Peeled whole Italian tomatoes grown in Naples for tomato sauce. Nothing else will do. If you have to get on a plane and fly to Naples, do it.
- Semolina Flour: A must for flouring your board and dough to avoid moisture for fresh pasta and the main flour you would use for dry pasta.
- Dark Egg Yokes: I had never really heard about these eggs but they are an absolute must in making fresh Italian pasta. So rich and colorful.
Once we had our pasta ingredients measured out (which ended up just being 9 dark egg yolks and AP Flour) we started forming our
pasta dough and rolling out the sheets. It took a few attempts before I was rolling out “level 7” pasta sheets that were ready for stuffing. Once the sheets were laid out and sprinkled with a little simolina flour I cut them into shape, and created a little volcano shaped combination of dry ricotta and fresh parmesan cheese. On top of my volcano I slid out of the bowl and beautiful bright orange dark yolk. The very carefully pulled and tugged at the top piece of the ravioli until I had created a little dome effect. Once on top just a bit of egg wash to secure the sides and off the the salt-soaked boiling bath for cooking al dante.
And the Primo Course was prepared. “Ravioli Formaggia Uova” drenched in a brown butter with sage sauce.