Taste & Savor is a monthly event hosted by The Broadmoor, featuring top-noted Chefs and winemakers. Unfortunately, the Chocolates and Champagne event in February sold out. However, the Broadmoor was so sweet to send me a box of the Valrhona Valentine's Day chocolates. Most of you may remember my instagram photo: here or here.
That being said, I was so happy when I was able to get a spot at Viva Italiano [March 11-12] featuring Chef Frank Bonanno and Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher. This event also sold out too but I have all the details for those of you who couldn't get a ticket.
Most participants arrived on Friday evening to attend the meet and greet reception hosted in the Pourtales Library. We indulged in passed appetizers, delicious Italian wine, and met our fellow 'classmates' for the weekend.
Saturday morning kicked off at 10am sharp with Chef Frank's "No Fail Pasta at Home" cooking demonstration. The itinerary was to make ricotta, pasta dough, and then turn those into ravioli. The participants were so interested in everything he was showing us that we learned more things like how to make sauces and different types of pastas we could make.
After his introduction, Chef Frank started by making the dough for the pasta. This only took about 10 minutes.
Some quick tips on making pasta dough:
You can always add water but you can't add more flour once the dough has begun
The dough is done mixing when the bowl is clean (dough doesn't stick to edges)
Use a damp napkin and let the dough rise at room temperature, not in the fridge
Never freeze dough to use at a later time. Cold dough is your enemy!
While the dough was set aside to rise Chef Frank started on the Ricotta. He used just four ingredients which were whole milk, fresh squeezed lemon juice, buttermilk, and heavy cream. Once the curdling took place he strained the soon to be ricotta into a cheese cloth and hung it to dry.
Some quick tips on Ricotta:
Whole milk is better for the fat to curdle (but unpasteurized milk is best for a higher yield)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice is the best to help create the curdle
Fresh ricotta has a shelf life of 4-6 days when refrigerated
Always use Kosher salt. Iodized salt will spoil the taste
Dairy eats salt. Salt is always your friend when cooking
While the Ricotta was drying, we moved back to the dough to being the kneading. Chef Frank used an electric pasta roller but in all of his restaurants they use a hand crank pasta roller. He loves the relationship between the dough and the chef and hopes all of his chefs will find this in their work.
Watching a ball of dough transform into sheets of pasta for ravioli was very fascinating. I learned how to fold dough, when to add more flour for a smoother roll-out, and when to know you have plenty of pasta sheets.
Chef Frank then piped the ricotta into little balls, folded the pasta over itself and used a pasta cutter to seal the ravioli. It was the most simple thing I had ever seen; I am positive I will be great at doing this on my own (if not, Chef Frank said to live tweet along the way and he will try to help). Once we made 180 raviolis we had extra dough to make the cutest pasta of all time: Agnolotti. These are very similar to ravioli except you fold the dough as you seal it to create a little blanket for the pasta. We paired the two types of pasta with a tomato based sauce and a butter cream sauce. Then, the best part, we enjoyed the food!
THIRD BITES, I MEAN FIRST DRINKS:
In the afternoon, Master Sommelier Jay hosted a wine tasting featuring wines of Italy. He started off the class by teaching us the proper way to taste:
Tipping the glass to let the legs catch
Checking the opacity of the wine
Tasting with our tongue
Tasting with a swirl of the mouth
Checking the acidity underneath your tongue
Checking the oak age by clenching the gulp in your throat and breathing out really fast
Pushing the wine under your upper lip to check the tannins
Of the 9 Italian wines we sampled, I loved the Chianti. Jay told us that we would enjoy a more expensive Chianti at dinner. We all know who's eyes lit up then!
THE REAL THIRD BITES:
Saturday evening was the Commencement dinner where Chef Frank hosted an Italian Menu paired with Italian wines by Somm Jay. There were 8 courses and I am going to let the photos do the talking.
Taste & Savor: A Moveable Feast is a fun weekend event for couples, a friends getaway, or to enjoy by yourself. There is plenty of time to enjoy yourself and the Broadmoor outside of the classes. Taste & Savor occurs every month and future events are already selling out. You must add this to your bucketlist! For more information on the upcoming events click: here. If you are interested in the recipes shoot me an email.