A chronicle of my kitchen experiments, a little healthy a little indulgent
My love for Italian food shines in this blog and my love for Italian men is errr well known too (I know I know this is a sexist comment and I can almost feel men staring at me but tell me don’t you agree that Italian men are charming) and when all these are combined with a demo of pasta making thrown in and some good wine, it turns into a perfect way to spend a Friday evening and that’s how we spend our last Friday evening at Bene, Sheraton. Chef Carlo Molon who is visiting from the Sheraton Milan guided us through the lovely evening of food, chitter chatter, learning and wine
We started the evening with a demo of how to make a pasta dough, both egg and eggless variety and I could so feel the difference in the texture of both the doughs. We then moved on to see the rolling of the dough in the pasta machine till the dough was a little thicker than paper and almost translucent in nature. What a delight it was to see the dough go in the machine and magically come out thinner and longer, the chef adjusting it again and putting it right back in the machine for the magic to work again. This is what I love about cooking and baking the witnessing of change of form, from routine ingredients to magical plates but well we digress as usual.
After the rolling of the pasta we got to shaping the pasta, we were working at the bar counter where the plates with rolled and cut pasta, filling, tissues and even gloves were neatly arranged (and in case you are wondering about the gloves no we didn’t use them, Chef mentioned that real chef’s just worked without them and well we after all are pretending to be real chef’s). The filling was tomato and mozzarella and was yumm if just a tad bit salty which it had to be since it wasn’t meant to be eaten like we were but then give me anything with sun dried tomatoes and I will gobble it up. It was a short but fun session where the chef guided us on what is the correct way to shape pasta etc and I learnt that I have been always folding tortellini the wonton way and not the way tortellini is supposed to be folded.
After we finished the pasta making demo, we sat down at the tastefully laid table for a pre plated meal and some lovely white wine to go with it.
For the first course I chose “Insalata d’orzo con pomodori secchi, zucchini saltate, coulis di pepperoni gialli marmellatina di cipolle rosse & quenelle di ricotta all’erba cipollina“ which is essentially a barley salad with dried tomatoes, sauteed zucchini, onion jam, pepper coulis, and ricotta cheese with chives, this was oh so good, subtle yet fresh flavors along with textures playing in your mouth in every bite. The onion jam was greeted with huge appreciation at the table but I found it a tad tooo sweet for my palate
The next course was “Ravioli di Mozzarella di bufala e salmone fresco con coulis di pomodori arrostiti e salsa di peperoni gialli” aka buffalo mozzarella cheese ravioli served with roast tomato sauce and yellow sweet pepper cream, the ravioli was perfect after all we had made it 😉
For the next course, we were confused for choices and yes behold while I tell you even people like me and Natasha were almost considering ordering the vegetarian option, not the non veg option didn’t sound good its just that the vegetarian sounded so out of the world and hence it was decided that everyone will have a vegetarian main course with some three extra non veg plates as common (yes we are food bloggers, we eat a lot and no you can’t make fun of us). The vegetarian that was served was “Lasagnetta di pasta filo, patate, fagiolini e pesto” a lasagna made out of crunchy filo-pastry sheets layered with potatoes, green beans and basil pine nuts pesto, for me the flavor combination was just wow but the way they had layered their filo didn’t work, filo for me has to be multiple crumbing layers that you can’t put in your mouth without making the plate messy, the touch of butter in every layer, the crisp and crunch in your mouth. There was the crisp and crunch but everything else was missing since they were just single sheets with stuffing layered
For the non vegetarian course we had “Agnello in crosta di pane alle erbe con patate schiacciate al basilica” an oven roasted lamb loin in an herbed bread crust, basil crushed potatoes. The lamb was just a tad over rare and if you like your medium rare you will find this raw, the flavors though were outstanding and the basil potatoes a perfect side to the dish.
And the star of the any meal, the dessert. We were served “Piatto Da Dessert” which simply means a trio of dessert which in this case included Fresh ricotta cheesecake, poached pear in red wine sauce served with divine cinnamon ice cream, and for me star of the evening Meringue with hazelnuts served with hot chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream. Each element in the dessert platter screamed perfection and detailing, I spent some time just looking and clicking when my fellow diners started scolding me to eat and when I started eating it I could feel myself getting lost in a happy world, a world where I reach when I am reading a good baking book usually. I could think and imagine of all the techniques at work but let me know not bore you with the details you get the idea don’t you
And with this we ended a fabulous evening which will be in memory for sometime to come
PS: Pictures taken by me but collaged and edited by Swati