Saturday, November 1, 2008

Away in a Manger

First night in Garde Manger was a pasta disaster! Armed with the recipe for cavatelli I proceeded to make the fresh pasta dough so it could rest for 30 minutes before cranking it out on the cavatelli machine.

I worked the dough to a leathery softness and wrapped it in plastic wrap to sit in the refrigerator. When it was time to make the cavatelli the dough seemed very dry and did not cooperate with the pasta machine. Every fifth cavatelli was somewhat useable the rest was just a mess of malformed skinny rejects. I was getting so frustrated and Chef Wanda thought the pasta needed more water to moisten it up. So I added more water, kneaded it again and let it rest.

My second chance at making the pasta was a complete failure as well. We were baffled why this simple and easy recipe was producing the most terrible cavatelli. Luckily, another Chef had cavatelli from the night before and we used that for service. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong, I used the right amount of flour, semolina, ricotta and eggs. It was the most annoying thing and only added fuel to my already dough-phobic psyche.

We stretched that borrowed cavatelli for about 12 to 15 orders. We cut it extremely close to running out completely. The dish is composed of cavatelli with crab meat, sea urchin, a crustacean broth and flavored breadcrumbs. Trying it made me wince a little – too fishy for my taste.

I called it a night befuddled by the mysterious plague that cursed my pasta dough. My mind ran circles around the recipe and procedure trying to figure out what went wrong.

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