Welcome to the final week in our summertime Star-Telegram's kids cooking club!
This is the sixth consecutive week in the Thursday Your Life section that we've presented a local chef or food specialist working in the kitchen with kids, complete with recipes. Our goal has been to have kids cook their way through the recipes (with some parental guidance), jot down a few notes and shoot a photo or two, if desired. At the end of the summer, club members will receive a certificate of completion. (See "how to join," right).
So far this summer, participants have learned how to make taco popovers with Molly McCook, chef and co-owner at Ellerbe Fine Foods; lava cake with Hans Bergmann, chef and co-owner at Cacharel; Argentine empanadas with Josie Villa-Singleton, blogger for eatthisfortworth.com; Mexican cinnamon brownies and rockin' s'more bars with Judy Waitkus, manager at the Dish Event Culinary School inside Market Street; and fillet of beef with blackberry sauce and homemade mac 'n' cheese with Jerrett Joslin, owner-chef at The Wild Mushroom.
This week, we visit the Central Market Cooking School in Fort Worth, where chef Sarah Hooton and the school staff oversee a busy schedule of 10 or more classes each week. The school often offers a schedule of classes for kids. Hooton, who has worked with lots of young cooks, says the best qualities that she sees in these aspiring chefs are "curiosity, patience and creativity."
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The noodles class held recently taught kids how to make pasta from scratch and then how to make other dishes, such as angel hair with marinara and chicken fettuccine. Chef Hooton says that when making pasta, you need to allow plenty of time, as the pasta dough takes 20 minutes to make and more time for the dough to rest.
Yet it's easy, in a way, because pasta only requires three ingredients: flour, eggs and salt. Remember, if you are not cooking the pasta right away, you'll need to allow fresh pasta to dry for a few hours to store and cook later.
2 cups (about 10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
A few drops of water, if needed
1. Combine the flour and salt in the container of a food processor fitted with the plastic blade and pulse once or twice. Add the eggs and olive oil and turn the machine on. Process until a ball begins to form, about 30 seconds. Add a few drops of water if the dough is dry and grainy; add a little flour if dough sticks to the side of the bowl.
2. Turn the dough out onto a dry, lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth, just 1 or 2 minutes. Add water by the half teaspoonful if the mixture is dry; add flour if it is sticky. This should be an easy dough to work. Cut the dough into 6 pieces; wrap 5 pieces in plastic. (If time allows, wrap it all in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.)
3. Clamp a pasta rolling machine to a counter, and sprinkle the counter lightly with flour; have more flour ready. Put a piece of dough through the widest setting (usually No. 1). Decrease the distance between the two rollers, making the strip of dough progressively thinner. Note that as the dough becomes longer, it will become more fragile. If at any point the dough sticks or tears, bunch it together and start again. You will quickly get the hang of it. Use as much flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking, but no more than necessary or the dough will become too dry.
4. When you pass the dough through setting No. 6 (on most machines; in any case, thin enough to see your hand through a sheet of it), set it aside on a lightly floured towel and cover it. (The rolled-out pieces will be about 5 inches wide.) Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.
5. To cut noodles for particular dishes, use the appropriate pasta machine attachment that will cut fettuccine, angel hair and other specific noodles.
Angel hair with marinara
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
21/2 tablespoons dried oregano
21/2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 teaspoon salt
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic until aromatic and tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, parsley, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, bay leaves and onion powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 40 minutes.
2. A few minutes before the marinara has finished cooking, cook the pasta: Combine water and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add pasta, stir and return to a boil. Cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat. Drain in a colander. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour marinara over the pasta. Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
11/2 teaspoons salt
6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
41/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
11/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Place 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add fettuccine to the pot, stir and return to a boil, cooking for 7 minutes or until done. Drain into a colander and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the chicken, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cayenne in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended.
3. Gradually add the half-and-half, peas and cheese. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Toss fettuccine with chicken mixture and stir until warmed through. Serve immediately.