Return of the handmade pasta

One of our first-ever evening classes involved making fresh pasta, and then eating the results. Phil took over running it from Tom but when Phil left us in 2021 we were a little too preoccupied with pandemic recovery to do a proper handover. So when the cookery school returned after lockdown we prioritised the classes we knew we could run, but it was always our intention to bring handmade fresh pasta back.

Martha ladling a large clump of pasta over a pot in the Loaf cookery school.

The main driver has been Martha and Molly’s continued interest in Italian food. Molly has stayed in touch with ex-Loafer Valentina — who you’ll remember brought the authenticity to our Ragu Time pop-up in 2021 — and has visited her in Italy where much food was made and consumed. Suffice to say, it was not if but when this course would return.

Val was back in Birmingham over our winter break and the three of them, plus fellow Loafer Sarah, took over the cookery school to try out some recipes and ponder how best to teach them.

To begin with, Val taught her grandma’s way to make tortellini, filled with spinach and ricotta.

Some freshly made tortellini shells on a wooden kitchen surface, waiting to be cooked.

Val’s partner Tommaso lent his carbonara recipe made with guanciale from a recent meat curing class at Loaf.

A serving of carbonara

Finally, there was puttanesca, a spicy tomato sauce with anchovies, capers and olives. This had been taught on our class from the beginning and Molly was keen to bring back her favourite dish. It’s an affordable sauce that goes a long way but still gives a lot of punchy flavours.

A serving of Puttancesca

For the pasta itself they experimented with different mixes of flours and not just the usual Tipo 00. They were especially keen to work with some of the heritage flours Loaf has been using in the bakery.

Two different blends of pasta drying on a rack. One is made with white flour, the other a wholemeal mix.

Now, we just have to shape this into the perfect evening class, which won’t be hard, and it should be on sale in the next couple of months. If you’d like to be alerted as soon as classes go on sale, fill in this form.

All photos by Molly from the session in January 2023.