Culinary Night Out

Hands-on cooking classes and live shows make for an entertaining date night.

By Maria Allen | Photography courtesy of Bar Rustic

Liz Bramwell filming The Cooking Show

Ever since opening its doors at the Kingston Collection last year, Bar Rustic has offered South Shore diners an unparalleled choice of culinary experiences. In addition to serving delicious meals and cocktails in the main dining room and bustling bar area, the restaurant hosts live cooking shows in the adjacent Studio Kitchen, as well as hands-on classes in the Chef’s Hall. Whether guests are seeking a unique date-night idea or something fun to do with friends, these interactive programs are both educational and entertaining.

The Chef’s Hall cooking classes are designed to be intimate affairs, offering groups of up to 10 guests the opportunity to don an apron and get their hands a little dirty while preparing a delicious meal. Participants learn expert knife skills and the secrets to executing recipes—all while getting to know Chef Liz Bramwell (host of The Cooking Show) a little better.

A Braintree native, Bramwell first became interested in cooking when she attended home economics classes in middle school. She later went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. For the last eight years she has been the host of the Emmy® Award -winning television series The Cooking Show, entertaining audiences with her vast culinary knowledge and brash sense of humor.

Inside the Chef’s Hall, however, Bramwell is able to give guests her undivided attention. “I teach them about the ingredients and give them enough work so that they’re not just assembling things,” says Bramwell.

There’s something about cooking that brings people together, and by the end of each class, participants are sharing laughs with new friends over a gourmet meal they prepared together.

Make It At Home

One of Bramwell’s favorite dishes is a homemade ricotta cavatelli pasta. This recipe is made using a cavatelli pasta machine, but can also be prepared using store-bought cavatelli.

Chef Tip: “It’s important to remember that whenever you’re making a dough with soft cheese like ricotta, you must drain it before you use it,” says Bramwell. “Otherwise, the dough will be wet and you’ll have to keep adding more flour, which will result in a tough dough.”

Homemade Ricotta Cavatelli with Sage and Brown Butter Sauce and Root Vegetable Ragu

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:
2 cups root vegetable ragu (see recipe below)
4 Tbsp. unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp. sage, chiffonade
1 cup pasta water
2 Tbsp. chives, sliced
3-4 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. ricotta salata shavings
12 ounces cavatelli pasta (see recipe below or use store-bought)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Bring large sauté pan up to medium-high heat.
2. Add butter and begin to brown, be careful not to burn.
3. Quickly add sage and ragu to pan, sauté a few
minutes until hot.
4. In a separate pot, boil water and cook cavatelli for approximately 3-4 minutes, then add cooked pasta to your sauté pan.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Add pasta water and stir to combine.
7. Add parmesan cheese and finish with chives.
8. Shave ricotta salata on top of finished dish.

Homemade Ricotta Cavatelli

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour + additional for kneading
1 cup ricotta cheese-drained overnight  
(you want it very dry)
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Note: This recipe is made using a cavatelli pasta machine.

Directions:

1. Mix together flour and ricotta cheese and then form
a well shape at the center.

2. Crack the egg in the well and season with salt and pepper. Slowly incorporate the egg into the flour and cheese to make a dough. Once incorporated, knead the dough for 5 minutes.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.

4. After the dough has rested, roll it out and cut into ½-inch strips, using the excess flour to keep the dough from sticking to the bench.

5. Pass the strips through a cavatelli pasta maker, placing finished pasta onto floured sheet trays. (You can also form pasta by hand by rolling the dough into a long tube, snipping into 1/2-inch sections and pressing each piece with your thumb down a ridged gnocchi board.)

6. Freeze pasta or cook immediately.

Root Vegetable Ragu

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients: 

1/3 cup carrots, diced

1/3 cup Spanish onions, diced

1/3 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup purple turnips, peeled and diced

1/3 cup yellow turnips, peeled and diced

1/3 cup Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced

1/3 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/3 cup parsnips, peeled and diced

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bring large sauté pan to a medium high heat. Add olive oil and bring up to its smoke point.

2. Add all of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

3. Sauté vegetables over low heat, just until cooked through so they are still slightly al dente.

4. Place on a sheet tray and cool.

For more information on upcoming shows and classes, visit www.thestudio.kitchen  

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