I’ve only made pasta once and it was very undercooked. And despite the not-so-edible final product, it was a cracking good time. From using simple ingredients to create the dough to cutting shapes and deciding on a delicious sauce, I can see why people love making it. Oh, not to mention the fact that fresh pasta is divine. So when Pasta Evangelists invited us to their Pasta Academy: Taste of Sardinia Masterclass (£65) in Farringdon, I jumped on the chance to hopefully redeem myself.
Situated on a quiet street, we entered the Pasta Academy and were immediately transported to Italy as it was decked out with potted plants, sacks of flour, abstract-printed tile floors and a cute quote on the wall reading ‘Faith In Fresh’. Everything about the set-up screamed cosy as we settled into our kitchen stations. There were three big tables and everyone was given their own set of cooking utensils, an apron, and a starter. While we nibbled on a plate of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, someone came around to fill up our glasses with prosecco. The whole workshop included free-flowing fizz and boy, the staff were quite attentive throughout to make sure we got our boozy fix. If you aren’t a big bubbly person, you can also opt for bottomless beer or a non-alcoholic drink (there were kids there after all), which I thought was a nice touch to accommodate everyone in attendance.
There are plenty of other classes to sign up for that target various parts of Italy, from the Amalfi Coast to Puglia and Rome, but we decided upon Sardinia as it was one of the more vegetarian-friendly workshops.
Our lovely chef then called us over to start his demonstration. He first gave us some background about himself and pasta making in Sardinia. It turns out that classic gnocchi is made using just flour and water, meaning there would be no eggs involved in the process. He showed us how to create our dough from scratch and even shared a funny story about someone pouring their prosecco instead of water into their flour. And I thought my first attempt at making pasta was a disaster.
After the demo, we were sent to make our dough, and this was definitely my favourite part of the whole experience. As I started to knead mine, I was able to catch up with my flatmate and sip on some fizz which made for a rather relaxed atmosphere. The chef also walked around in case anyone needed help. After a bit of fumbling and second-guessing my flour-to-water ratio, I finally got my dough to form and I had to admit, I was feeling pretty pasta-tive about my final product.
Our chef called one woman up to help with the next part of his demonstration. He showed us how to cut our pasta into small shapes so that we can make gnocchi and then asked her to use a beechwood paddle to form the ridges and curled shape.
So we were sent back to our stations once again and this time, it definitely required a little more finesse especially when it came to making the shape. Eventually, I got the hang of it and it was oddly therapeutic. Once every person finished, the pasta was placed in a bowl with their name on it. All you had to do from there, was pop it on the kitchen table as the chef boiled the gnocchi and mixed in some fresh basil pesto.
After waiting a few minutes, we were given back our creations, and I added some parmesan cheese and a splash of olive oil before delving into my food. The pasta was cooked slightly al dente and the pesto oozed a herbaceous yet nutty flavour.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Overall, this pasta making masterclass was a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s ideal for anyone looking to try something new as the step-by-step demo and lovely staff made for a relaxed ambience and feel-good vibe. The endless prosecco throughout the workshop definitely makes it worth the money too. And the best part? You get to eat what you end up creating – and if it was anything like mine, you can expect some pretty banging pasta.
💰 The damage: £65 per person.
📍 The location: 62-63 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ.
👌 Perfect for: Something a little different for pasta lovers.
⭐ Need to know: There's also bottomless beer if you're not a fan of fizz.
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