pasta party

Today was my favorite day so far at the Natural Gourmet for one reason and that reason starts with “P” and ends with “asta.”

The day started out with a lecture where the Chef entertained us with the history of pasta and then demonstrated how to make fresh pasta using flour and either egg or water. It’s actually really easy to make pasta even though it’s kind of messy to do from scratch, it would be especially difficult in my tiny apartment with negative counter space, but fresh pasta is 10000000000000x better than boxed stuff so I think it would be totally worth it once in a while.

After the demo we got to make out own pasta and had the option of using different types of flours or coloring ingredients like spinach, beet puree or tomato paste. Check out the pretty colors of all the pasta we made!

Once our pasta dough was made we rolled it out into shapes. First we made long lasagna noodles to be used for making filled pasta like tortellini and ravioli, and then we used an attachment on the pasta machine to make fettuccini and spaghetti. This is what a happy pasta maker looks like…

And this is what it looks like when things go terribly wrong… (the crank fell off mid-fettucini)

Purdy corn fettuccini made by replacing ½ cup flour with cornmeal.

Beet pasta!

I barely got any pictures of the finished products but I managed to snap a few.


Cannelloni filled with butternut squash and tofu ricotta (I made the tomato sauce!)


Tomato spaghetti with basil walnut pesto

Chef also showed us how to make gnocchi. Here are the little gnocchi before…

And after they were cooked in a browned butter sage sauce. I’ve been staying away from dairy recently but gnocchi has a special place in my heart and this dish was calling to me so I had to have a bite. It was divine!

I took some pasta home to cook for dinner but by the time I got home it had turned into this…

It was originally fettucini… I still ate it though and it tasted pretty good even if it was kind of dense.

Tomorrow is our first day of the baking unit and I am pumped! So is Henry, he has his paw on tomorrow because he likes to think ahead and contemplate the future.

pasta + wine = :)

Last night was the most fun I have had in a long time. Why? Because I finally went out! I used to be an intense partier when I was a freshman in college and even through sophomore year, but once I started seeing my boyfriend I stopped going out so much. I feel it’s pretty common for couples to become “homebodies,” sitting at home in their sweats watching Mad Men on Netflix and eating popcorn. I actually like staying home and getting to bed early, but it’s nice to get out and let my ginger hair down once in a while.

The night started with a nice dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, Via Della Pace, in the East Village. Dan and I were going to go here last weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day but since I was out of commission we went last night instead.

Via Della Pace has a really nice warm and romantic atmosphere with soft lighting and cozy seats. What I love most about the restaurant is that it is so authentically Italian. The owner and all the wait staff are Italian and the people we were seated next to were Italian as well, so if they like it then it must be good! The meal started with complimentary fresh bread dipped in olive oil…

Followed by an appetizer of Bruschetta Siciliana with grilled eggplant, olives, capers and pecorino cheese. I chose this, and Dan and I laughed about it later because none of us actually like eggplant! After I picked off the eggplant it was really good though 🙂

I’m a sucker for gnocchi so for my entrée I ordered the fresh gnocchi with radicchio and walnuts. It came in a cream sauce and was so delicious that I’m drooling just thinking about it now!

Dan ordered the Rigatoni del Pirata, which was baked rigatoni with sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella in a tomato rum sauce. His sauce was really flavorfuland I stole a couple of sausage-free bites.

On the way home from dinner we passed by a film shoot for the new Coen Brothers movie! The whole street was decked out with those old-fashioned cabs. It was so cool and made me feel really lucky to be living in the city!

The rest of the evening consisted of a birthday party, dancing and way too much of this:

I had a great evening but I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch with my boys tonight and going to bed at 10pm. With that, I’m off to go on a trial shift at a new job! Enjoy this beautiful Saturday!