We like Pasta.
A quick and delicious lunch of Spaghetti dressed with a Pesto is something we have off and on. For this, we use premade packet pasta, only Barilla though. Indian Pasta is really not up to the mark. For some unexplained reason a few months ago Barilla pasta went off the shelves. That made life a little difficult, but, now, Barilla has returned. Thank God.
Eating fresh pasta is a great pleasure. Making pasta at home is simple, no unusual, hard to find ingredients, just egg, Maida and salt. Every home has them – except Jain, Shah and Khandelwal homes. One essential to make really good, restaurant-quality pasta is a Pasta Machine. This too is easily available in Mumbai. The New India Electric Trading Company at Ambalal Doshi Marg, the old Hamam Street, in the Stock Exchange area imports and sells them. You could even buy them online from him. He sells the Imperia machine which is really the Gold standard for pasta machines. It costs Rs. 4,500/- and will last a lifetime. Believe me, it is a good investment. Have a look at the website.
Anyway, off and on we get into a pasta-making frenzy. A few days ago, our friends Mr and Mrs Jeweller’s daughter said she wanted us to teach her something to make. So we thought what better than fresh pasta and an Ice Cream. So HRH the Queen of Kutch taught Ms Jeweller and their cook how to knead pasta dough and then Ms Jeweller, Mrs, Jeweller and Master Jeweller all delightedly rolled out the pasta. Once the sheets were rolled, they happily stuffed them with a Mushroom & Ricotta filling and made little Ravioli. The Ravioli were boiled, tossed in a Brown Butter Sage and Lemon Sauce and devoured.
We decided we need to make pasta at home more often. So this weekend we set about doing just this. So we bought a small tub of Ricotta, actually quite good, made by a company in Delhi at a most agreeable price of Rs 145 for 200 grams. The imported Zanetti Ricotta cost an eye-watering Rs 450 for 250 grams. We also bought Parmesan and a couple of bunches of Spinach which is all that was required. We were planning to make a giant `Surprise’ Spinach Ravioli with an Egg Yolk inside. I am sure you have seen this on TV on cooking shows.
So, HRH the Queen of Kutch kneaded the pasta dough while I set about making the filling. Blanch the Spinach, squeeze out the water and chop it finely. Add some grated Parmesan, some Ricotta, freshly grated Nutmeg and salt and your filling is ready. Put it in a piping bag with a broad nozzle.
You roll out the Pasta sheets and cut out a 9 – 10 cm diameter round. You pipe a ring of the Spinach filling and gently, ever so gently, nestle an egg yolk in the centre. Cover the base with another pasta sheet and cut out the Ravioli. Boil this for 6 minutes in salted water, drain and plate. 6 minutes is enough time to cook the Pasta and keep the yolk liquid.
Separately make a Brown Butter and Sage sauce which you spoon on top of the Ravioli. Sprinkle on some grated Parmesan and eat. The yolk should ooze out and mix with the brown butter to form an absolutely delicious sauce. I must confess here that Indian yolks are a rather pale yellow colour. Thus, the Pasta itself is a pale yellow and the Yolk oozing is similarly pale yellow. The deep orangey yolks are something you get with eggs abroad. Picture in your mind’s eye, how utterly shattering the effect would be if we had those deep yellow, almost orange egg yolks doing the job. Sigh.
Now since you cannot eat too much egg, we made just 1 giant `Surprise’ Spinach Ravioli for each of us. The remainder of the Spinach mix was used to make simple Ravioli which we had with the same Brown Butter and Sage sauce.
This was washed down with the excellent Chandon White Sparkling Wine, without doubt the best Indian Wine.
It was an excellent meal.