Have you ever been out at a restaurant with a mouthful of pasta and thought, “Damn I wish I could cook like this?” Once a month on Saturday Urbana’s Executive Chef Ethan McKee will teach a pasta cooking class at the restaurant, where students sit back and enjoy snacks while seated along the bar which frames the kitchen, as Chef goes through an elaborate cooking demonstration. And yes, there is plenty of wine included.
In his most recent class, he started with making pasta dough from scratch, with a pasta maker, then illustrated how to make different kinds of pasta shapes with the dough. Chef made everything from pappardelle to ravioli to agnolotti to linguine to tortellini. For the stuffed pasta, he demonstrated how to make a delectable spring pea filling, comprised of peas, ricotta, and mascarpone cheeses. For a sauce, he created a decadent butter and chive concoction. Of course, there are plenty of samples to be had by the students, whose mouths are watering at this point.
Next, Chef Ethan made gnocchi, tossed in a pesto butter sauce, which actually looked surprisingly simple to make. Let’s see if it comes out as good at home!
Below is a recipe for his kale pasta, which is great with a simple tomato sauce or pesto. Happy cooking!
Tuscan Kale Pasta Dough
• 2 cups fine durum wheat flour
• 4 oz. cold pressed Tuscan kale juice
• 4 egg yolks
• 2 tsp olive oil
Mound the flour on a cutting board or directly on your counter top and make a well in the middle. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the juice, yolks and olive oil. Pour the mixture into the well and gradually stir with your fingers to start incorporating the flour without letting the egg mixture spill out of the well. Once the mixture comes together begin to knead the dough with the palms of your hands. If the dough seems too sticky add more flour to the work surface. Knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes and then wrap it in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to a day in the refrigerator. Make sure that the dough is room temperature before rolling it out into desired shape.