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Here at Central Element, we value team culture and as part of our regular calendar of social events it’s always nice to get out and really connect with each other outside of the office.
Last Friday, it was time to get our hands dirty thanks to the crew at VIVE Cooking School in Rosebery. The talented Chef Stefan led our team of novice cooks as we took to the tools, making pasta from scratch and finishing it off with one of the hardest sauces to master – the carbonara!
Before we started, Chef Stefan showed us how to make the perfect panna cotta that we would enjoy after our lunch (as we all sighed a breath of relief knowing we would at the very least sit down to an edible dessert).
Next our expert teacher talked us through how to make the perfect pasta from scratch, then we all got our hands dirty mastering a traditional egg fettucine just the way an Italian nonna would make it.
Things heated up as we finished our freshly made pasta off in a creamy carbonara sauce – one of the easiest sauces to ruin by not following the precise steps and timing!
There were plenty of laughs, some successful and not so successful dishes, one small mishap with a chef’s knife and lots of team bonding, as we cooked up and enjoyed the finished dishes over a leisurely afternoon together.
You can test your cooking skills at home like our team did with these recipes from VIVE Cooking School:
• 200g flour
• 100g semolina
• 3 eggs
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 2 min
Tip: To increase or decrease the recipe, the ratio is usually 1 egg per 100g of flour/semolina mix.
1. Mix flour and semolina together. Tip onto the bench top, forming a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the centre big enough for the eggs. Break the eggs into the centre of the well. Using a fork, beat the eggs, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well.
2. Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall and becomes thick.
3. Begin using both hands to gently combine dry and wet ingredients. Once you have ingredients combined well, you can start pressing it together to create a ball of dough, this should be moist but not sticky (If the dough is dry, dampen your hands and continue kneading). Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half, back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. Knead the pasta dough until you have an even texture and the dough springs back after you press it. Flatten as best you can, cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.
4. After resting, the dough is ready to roll, and cut as desired.
• 2 eggs
• 60ml cream
• 30g parmesan
• 60g pancetta
• 60g leek (thinly sliced)
• 5g garlic
• 5g cracked pepper
• 60ml vegetable stock
• Parsley for serving (optional)
• Salt to taste
• 220g cooked fresh pasta
Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
1. Wash and slice the leek. Cut the pancetta into lardons. Mince the garlic. Beat the eggs with the cream and pepper. Grate half the parmesan and finely chop the parsley.
2. Sweat out the pancetta in a pan on a medium-high heat until well rendered.
3. Add the leek, season with salt, and cook until the leek starts to become translucent.
4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
5. Add the stock to the pan, the cooked pasta (ensure pasta is still hot) and egg cream mixture. Continuously stir everything in the pan (if you miss a spot, it will scramble) until the sauce thickens evenly and is bound together. Take off the heat.
6. Add grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Mix through and serve.
7. Finish with more grated parmesan.