Chef Troy has taken over from Chef Robyn who sadly will be leaving the college to pursue new adventures outside TAFE. The pace is not as frantic this week, although there are quite a few components to each dish and as always we are building on knowledge and skills from previous lessons.
Farinaceous dishes are those made from starchy flours, pulses cereals and starchy vegetables, including pasta, rice, polenta, cous cous and gnocchi. These sort of dishes have been given a bad wrap in recent years, but they are nutritious and well….pretty tasty! Lesson One included, Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni with Béchamel, Parsley Pappardelle with Roast Pumpkin and Cherry Tomatoes and Rice Pilaff (two fs or one… the jury’s out!). This was not only such an enjoyable class to cook, each of the three dishes were delicious!
As the pasta had to rest, we started with this. The rule of thumb with pasta making is 100g flour to 1 egg. The best flour to use for pasta is triple 0 (000) due to it’s strong elastic gluten. In class we used bakers flour, which is also a strong flour. I frequently make pasta at home and use 000 flour and found the Bakers Flour made a slightly ‘tighter’ dough, but the end product was still good. Another difference to what I am used to is the addition of olive oil to the dough. I didn’t add as much as the recipe asked for but I think the different flour did require what I added.
Whilst the pasta rested I made the béchamel for the cannelloni. I first made a white roux and added the hot milk which had been steeped with an onion cloute (an onion studded with cloves) and a bay leaf. Once it was beaten to a smooth consistency I topped the pan with a buttered cartouche and popped in the oven at 160 degree C. My béchamel was thick not overly…a lot of the class added cream to theirs to thin it down but the finished product didn’t hold form when it baked and mine did.
I then turned my attention to the Pilaff Rice…. or is that Pilaf? The recipe and the class task breakdown sheets had it as Pilaff, but Wikipedia and various other recipes on-line spells it Pilaf… what ever the spelling it’s dead easy to make, takes no time and is delicious (recipe below). We made it in the oven and cooked it under a buttered cartouche but the recipe simply stated it needed to be covered, so a lid would work just as well. I have seen this made with the addition of toasted almonds, sultanas & sometimes with spice such as cayenne or saffron. When plating I made a rookie mistake, as I was rushing, and when moulding the rice I didn’t pack the dariole mould tightly enough. As a result my dome of rice pilaff doesn’t look as tidy as it should….see chefs version compared to mine. At home I would just tip it out and redo, but there is simply no time in class. I kick myself several times each lesson as I make silly mistakes when I know better! It just goes to show that the pressure in the kitchen can lead to slip ups…it’s best to learn from them as move on.
Moving onto the pasta, first I made the cannelloni. There was an extra chef in the kitchen today who was roaming around observing and offering some advice as he went. He was very helpful re the guiding of the pasta through the machine. It is something that I have struggled with at home…..who knew you had to ‘drive the pasta’ to ensure straight edges?! Once the pasta sheets, the béchamel & the ricotta and spinach filling were ready, it was a simple task of assembly. I covered the bottom of the baking container with some béchamel, piped the spinach and ricotta filling onto the pasta sheet, rolled and cut it and placed the cannelloni on top of the béchamel layer. When I had completed the layer of cannelloni I covered it with béchamel and topped it with cheese. These were baked until golden.
Last dish of the day was the Parsley Pappardelle with Roast Pumpkin and Cherry Tomatoes. This is a quick and pretty dish to make once you have the pasta made and the pumpkin roasted. The sauce is simply finely diced onion (2 tbsp) and crushed garlic (2 cloves) cooked but not coloured. Toss in about 8 – 10 halved cherry tomatoes, the roasted diced pumpkin (150g) and a hand full of parsley leaves. Cook through and add a little of the pasta water from the Pappardelle and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and season as required. Add the cooked pasta and toss through the sauce until coated. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved parmesan. Lunch!
Next week we work with polenta, a cake with fruit and curd and a savoury dish with mushrooms. So far these have been my favourite recipes to cook. Hope you pop by next week to see how I am going.
A buttery rice accompaniment – just right for a curry or a braised/stewed meat dish. You could add to the basic recipe; toasted almonds to the completed dish, Cayenne pepper, Saffron or add some sultanas before popping it in the oven to cook.
- 40 grams Butter – unsalted
- 1/2 Onion – small dice (brunoise)
- 1 clove Garlic – finely minced or crushed
- 150 grams Long Grain Rice
- 225 mls White Stock – hot
- 1 Bay Leaf (dried)
- pinch Salt
- pinch White Pepper
Preheat oven to 160 degree celsius (325F).
Melt the butter over medium heat and gently sauté the onion and garlic without colouring.
Add the rice and ensure all grains are coated with the butter.
Add the hot stock and bay leaf and bring to boil.
Cover and cook in preheated oven for approximately 20 mins or until cooked.
When done, season to taste.