Find out what happened when the team from Rencraft visited Borough Kitchen’s Islington Square Cook School to take part in a fresh pasta making class. Here’s my account of a fun evening out …

“Pasta. If you ask me, good pasta is one of the simple pleasures in life. Quick, comforting, delicious; a real hug in a bowl. But the pasta I buy usually comes in a packet. Could I make it from scratch? Along with the rest of the team from Rencraft, I was about to find out …

We’d be invited by our friends at Borough Kitchen to take part in one of their popular cook schools. Here you can learn to make a variety of different dishes – from gluten-free bakes, to authentic curries, to the perfect steak, and many more. Classes take place in one of Borough Kitchen’s London stores and can accommodate up to 10 people.

On this occasion, our host, Emma, was tasked with teaching us how to make fresh pasta. We used two different kinds of flour to make our pasta dough. Whole wheat flour combined with Italian ‘00’ grade flour (or, simply, pasta flour, as it is now often referred to) and two eggs (or water if you prefer) to create a firm whole wheat dough. This then required a good 10 minutes of solid kneading to get the right consistency (great therapy if you’ve had a bit of a bad day) before being left to ‘rest’ while we turned our hands to a pure ‘00’ flour and egg (or water) combination. This second dough had a lovely silky, soft consistency and, fortunately for our tired palms, required a little less work than the whole wheat option.

With our dough ready, it was time to make the pasta. Using a pasta maker and tools by well-respected Italian brand, Marcato, we set to work, gently – and a little precariously – feeding our dough through the machine. Our host, Emma, managed to do this with remarkable speed. Let’s just say the rest of us were a little slower. There was much amusement as increasingly longer and larger sheets of pasta were fed through the various levels – some split – some became too sticky – some felt like they may stretch across the entire room! It’s definitely a little harder than Emma made it look, but ultimately we all ended up with the lovely thin sheets we needed for our next task; each preparing our own individual lasagne for dinner.

Emma had already made some tomato sauce and roasted vegetables, so once we had our pasta sheets it was time to get layering. Pasta, sauce, veg, cheese. Repeat three times. More cheese on top. Perfect! Now things were starting to come together, we were all beginning to feel a little peckish – kneading and rolling pasta is hungry work!

With the lasagne’s safely bubbling away in the Gaggenau ovens, it was time to try making tagliatelle and ravioli. Emma showed us two different ravioli techniques, one using a pasta wheel and one using a pasta stamp. Both involved popping a teaspoon or so of butternut squash and ricotta filling in between two layers of pasta and then either cutting or stamping out the desired shape for the ravioli. This was definitely a highlight of the evening, we were all comfortably in our pasta making groove by now and it wasn’t long before the ravioli was gently boiling in the pot. While it cooked, Emma swiftly demonstrated a simple sage butter which was generously poured over the top of our ravioli before the eating could begin.

Wine was poured, pasta was served, and we all marvelled at the fruits of our labour. Even at our amateur hands, this pasta was next level. Soft, melt in the mouth, and with the satisfaction of knowing we had made it ourselves. The lasagnes were equally as tasty. Yes, it was hard work at times, but also great fun and definitely worth the effort.”

If you fancy having a go at making your own pasta, you can join one of the Borough Kitchen Cook Schools where you can also buy all the kit you need.

Rencraft are delighted to have designed and manufactured the kitchen furniture for the Islington Square Cook School. Find out more about the project here.