Local/State

Making Artisan Pasta

Friday, May 04, 2012

If your idea of exotic pasta is spinach instead of plain "white", chef, restaurant consultant and cookbook author Aliza Green would like to have a word with you. Actually, a few thousand words in her latest book, "Making Artisan Pasta".

The beautifully-illustrated volume shows you, step-by-step, how to make your own pasta from scratch, either with what equipment you already have or with a simple and inexpensive pasta machine.

As you'll learn quickly, great pasta depends less on the equipment and more on your own creativity. As with so many foods, your own taste is the best guide.

The steps will have you creating flavors you love in no time. Chef Green wants her readers to explore. She suggests trying a range of flours, including gourmet choices. She found pastry flour at a Central Pennsylvania mill she says makes lovely, delicate pasta.

A flavoring could be anything you like...simple egg pasta, for sure, but also chestnut asparagus, chocolate...anything that strikes your fancy. Then there are shapes. A sheet may be cut into any width you like, or die-cut into discs, or pressed and filled...ravioli. And if you're filling homemade ravioli, you're not limited to ricotta cheese or ground meat.

You may use anything you'd enjoy as a savory entree or a sweet dessert. The book covers it all, and yes, there are sauce recipes. But Green thinks that once you get a taste of absolutely fresh, homemade pasta, you'll want to go "simple" and just top it with some fruity olive oil, some fresh-grated parmesan cheese, and maybe a little black pepper.

We visited with the chef at Fante's Kitchen Shop in South Philadelphia's Italian Market. "Making Artisan Pasta" is available there, in bookstores, and from major online retailers.

You could order it from Fante's Kitchen Shop or your favorite retailer.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Chef Green has another new cookbook coming out in June. "The Butcher's Apprentice" is a follow-up to her successful "Field Guide to Meat", which merely described available cuts. This volume will go into greater detail and explain cooking techniques. Like the pasta book, it is lavishly illustrated. It, too, will be available from all the usual book suppliers.

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