The opportunity to combine my love for food and cooking with spending quality time with the Dude is my kinda date. The Dude and I love to cook together at home but we also enjoy the occasional outing to a cooking class. It had been a while since we’ve been to a cooking class together, so we recently headed to a local SoCal culinary school called Epicurean.
With about a dozen other couples, we picked out a recipe to create for the family style meal we would all share later in the evening. We had a variety of menu items to choose from: crostini with fresh mozzarella, butternut squash soup, Caesar salad with homemade croutons, chicken piccata, grilled skirt steak with garlic mashed potatoes, homemade pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce, and chocolate souffle for dessert.
I think the point of cooking class is to challenge yourself with something new and to create a dish you have never made before. However, we were slow to sign up and the most challenging menu items were already taken (read: souffle). We signed up for the pasta dish even though one of our own specialties is homemade pasta. So, we weren’t going to be challenged much but, with our bottle of red wine handy, we knew that we would at least have a lot of fun.
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We had a great time cooking, taking silly pictures, and meeting other cooks in the kitchen. The couple that made the crostini appetizers passed them around while the rest of us finished our entrees. When our meals were ready, we placed our dishes on a long buffet table. With the hard work complete, we were all able to sit down, relax, and enjoy our wine and everyone’s dishes.
Cooking classes can be as challenging or easy as you want them to be, but you will likely have an enjoyable time nonetheless. Whether you’ve been formally trained or don’t even know how to boil water, cooking class is a fun date night with your significant other or with a group of friends. Plus, you’ll hopefully learn something new!Homemade Pasta and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
Epicurean School of Culinary Arts
- 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
- 1 1/2 cups ap flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead mixture until smooth then cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1 hour before rolling out to desired shape. When boiling pasta, remember that fresh pasta boils much more quickly than dry pasta. For fresh pasta, it only takes a few minutes. Check the pasta after 3-4 minutes.
Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce:
- 1/2 onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 5 large tomatoes, concasse (peeled, seeded, drop in boiling water for about 30 seconds)
- 2 Tb fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 8 sun dried tomatoes, reconstituted (softened) and chopped fine
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop all ingredients. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and add onion and garlic. Cook until clear. Add tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes. Add herbs and cook another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss with hot pasta and serve.