It has become a normal weekend event. It began with talks after holidays to Tuscany and Sicily, with admiration (and idolisation) when buying dinner at the wonderful Burro e Salvia, and was ascertained as a sure-fire meal to impress after a class at Cucina Caldesi one Saturday evening.
B's first batch of orecchiette took too many hours and too much stress. The result was a saddened B: the texture to chewy, the cooking time too long. Harumph. Resilience required.
Following the discovery of Smitten Kitchen's seven yolk recipe, a second batch was made. A success.
We were hooked. Tagliatelle alla norma; pasta con pesto; rocket and parmesan ravioli.
A few hours at Cucina Caldesi led us to understand and perfect the simpler, more traditional, and less rich pasta dough recipe: 100g flour to 1 egg. Mix it up to form a dough. Knead for longer than you want to. Roll. Shape. Done. A many layered lasagne was put together by the group: rich and meaty, creamy and crammed full with herbs and deep, embedded flavours. And finally we understood the art of making stunningly simple spinach and ricotta ravioli. A huge excitement for me as (as my family and B will tell you), this has been my desert island dish (obviously followed by apple crumble), for as long as I can remember. Folded over and frilled with a fork, finished with a drizzle of sage butter and a sprinkle of parmesan. Heaven.
As you may have picked up on, this is what filled last Sunday, with the help of some lovely Cambridge friends. A simple Sunday supper turning into a feast which took hours to prepare. B took on a teaching role and his students were most obliging. A kilo of pasta finally cooked and we didn't want to think about food for several days. (That's a lie, I woke up starving, but that's how I feel should have felt).
So this Saturday evening, at B's home home, his parents had requested a viewing of our new pastaficcio skills. We were more than happy to show. Lara the lion watched on, purring her approval. Spinach and ricotta ravioli it was. Little P gave us a helping hand. 'A quick learner' in her older brother's words. Only 10 minutes later than the allotted dinner time, we sat down to a veritable feast. Followed by Tarte Tatin and an evening lying on the sofa in front of Strictly, contented doesn't do justice to how we felt. No doubt this will be repeated in a week's time.