Café Murano’s new pasta-making masterclass was just what we kneaded…
Photos Laurie Fletcher
Pasta factory. That’s the translated name of the shop attached to Angela Hartnett’s new-ish restaurant, Café Murano Covent Garden
. And Pastificio
certainly lives up to expectations. A deli-café and wine shop piled high with colourful Italian fare, it’s a fitting backdrop as we set about making metres and metres of silky sheets.
We begin our two-hour masterclass with a glass of fizz, a slice or two of salami and some truffle arancini. It sounds silly, but I’ve done a few cookery classes in my time, and it’s amazing what a difference a few tasty morsels can make. No one wants a rumbling stomach while surrounded by food they’re not allowed to eat.
Today, the class is being hosted by Rosie, who trained under Angela at Murano
, along with Sam, the exec chef at Café Murano. We’re being shown how to make three types of pasta. First up is the all-important dough, which we’re told to make ‘with love’. Rosie informs us that our pasta should be ‘as salty as the Mediterranean’, so we add a generous sprinkle to our double-zero flour and eggs, and use our hand as a paddle.
The tough love begins as we work the dough against the marble top and stretch it out to activate the gluten. As we aim to get our mix ‘as hard as a rugby player’s bum’ – Rosie’s got a way with words – we work up an appetite.
Once we’ve rolled it into an oblong shape and ‘fed the chickens’ (dusted the surface with flour), it’s time to get our hands on the pasta machine. This is another tricky bit, but we buddy up to make the process easier and eliminate the risk of making holes in our precious, increasingly translucent layers.
With our spinach and ricotta filling made, Rosie and Sam guide us through making tortelli, farfalle and tagliatelli. The latter is the most fun. We get to use a chitarra pasta cutter, rolling the sheets over wire strings, rather than cutting it by hand. But our filled tortelli is the star of the show. Our hosts cook it for us, with a little butter, marjoram and a heap of parmesan, while we sit down with a glass of white.
I’m covered in flour and full of carbs, but I’ve learnt a lot. And I’ve got two tubs of my own pasta to take away. They won’t last long.
Café Murano Pastificio, 34 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PB, tel: 020 3535 7884
Groups of up to eight can take over Pastificio for pasta-making masterclasses. Prices start from £50pp and include a two-hour class, arrival drinks and a Café Murano goodie bag
This article was first published in Squaremeal Venues + Events, Spring 2016