day seventeen - italian

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

So, we avoided default. Phew? I don't know. I mean, great, but also, does it really matter? I'm pretty sure the whole planet is just going to fall in the ocean pretty soon anyway. That is a thing that can happen and I know that because books and that is definitely the scientific thing that occurs when there is a rip in the fabric of the universe and there probably is a rip, I mean there might as well be, or if there isn't we're going to rip it pretty soon or there will be a small rip and maybe we can mend it but we won't be able to agree on whether we should spend money on mending the rip or maybe some group says their god likes the rip and doesn't want us to mend the rip so they hold up the mending the rip legislation and so on and so forth and next thing you know, plop, the earth fell into the ocean.

Anyway, while Congress was arguing over whether they should pay their own bills, that is, whether they should pay for the things that they ordered not too long ago, when they made the budget, they were like let's make the budget, and then they got the bill and they were like, oh my, that's expensive, just saying, anyway, while they were having that legitimate conversation (yup, it was definitely just a nice friendly legitimate conversation), I was making arancini. Mmmm, arancini. The best.

Lisa Falso, who works for Ming Tsai's television show Simply Ming, was our guest chef last night. We started off with pesto, just something very fast, and although I've made more than a lot of pesto because basil plants are so good at making insane amounts their leaves, Chef Falso did things a little different - she did not toast the pine nuts because she likes them untoasted (good reason!) and she folded in the cheese at the end because she likes the consistency better. OK!

Then we made pasta. We tossed the ingredients in a broken stand mixer, switched to a working stand mixer, whirred them up, let the dough rest and put them through the pasta attachment on the stand mixer. So easy! Chef Falso uses half 00 flour and half all-purpose, so maybe that is something you want to try as well? The pasta was delicious, so why don't you?

In addition to the pasta, we made a red sauce as well. This was a simple red sauce that we let cook away on the stove for the entire class period until it was thick and chunky and rich. Our group added about 10 times the amount of red pepper flakes because we like it hot and spicy. We kept tasting it and being like, "Not hot and spicy enough." So we would make it more hot and spicy. Moving on.

There's not much to say about risotto. Stand there and stir, adding broth as you go, until it's ready. But, did you know risotto is not the name of the dish, but the cooking technique? The more you know. But make extra! Because you can make arancini. Arancini are day-old balls of risotto that you fill with whatever (within reason!), roll in breadcrumbs and fry. You have probably had them before where they are the size of a basketball? Maybe? They always seem to be ridiculously large. The size of a small planet that might fall into the ocean pretty soon? Well, in my opinion golf ball size is the best because it's the perfect ratio of crunchy outside, creamy rice and whatever you filled them with. We filled them with mozzarella, but you can put a nice pea mixture, or some meat, or, as Chef Falso suggested, some braised short ribs. That's the best idea. Go make that one.

Anyway, we ate it all up and washed it down with wine. Education! Grad school!

Tonight: Indian, including lamb korma.