Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm being very Saucy today....

I did an experiment with my 6th graders today. It was a small class so no one would notice if someone became missing or anything....KIDDING.

We made 3 types of sauces today and the group who didn't get food poisoning passed. Hahahaha. Ok enough with the jesting (it is April Fool's Day after all).

Seriously, I wanted my small class of 12 to experience new sauces and different types of pastas. All they know is jarred sauce and spaghetti or macaroni. Since there was 3 cooking groups the sauces we made were meat/tomato , alfredo and pesto. None of them had ever eaten pesto about 3 of them had tried alfredo sauce. With my encouragement the pesto group used cheese tortellini, the alfredo sauce group used orzo and the meat sauce group spinach fusilli.

Of course with our 43 minute time constraint we looked for some 'easy' sauces on

Here is what we used:

Easy Alfredo Sauce II
(adapted from

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese (and we grated it fresh too!)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
white pepper

In a medium bowl, beat softened butter and parmesan with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add cream a little at a time, until mixture resembles softly scrambled eggs. (and it DID too!) Toss with hot pasta.

Teacher's notes: When we tossed this with the hot pasta, we did it back in the hot pot and turned on the heat for it was a little 'soupy'. Since we had the time....I had the student keep stirring until it thickened. I think 3/4 c. cream would have been fine. Or some added flour while it was beaten in bowl.

Kids reaction: "This is just like white macaroni and cheese!"

Easy Pesto
(adapted from

1/4 cup almonds (we used walnuts)
3 cloves garlic
1- 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. olive oil
1 pinch ground nutmeg (we omitted this)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan (I didn't realize until later this didn't have parmesan and added it while hot)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

In a food processor, combine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil, nutmeg, salt, pepper. Process until coarse paste is formed. (I put aside some pasta water in case it was too thick but it was just fine consistency)

Teacher's Notes: I was shocked that this sauce was the overall winner of all three sauce flavors. I thought for sure that the strong flavor of the basil was going to be too much for

Students Reaction: "Man, this is off the hook!" Translation: It is really good.

Lastly, sorry there aren't any pictures today....I know how VISUAL you are now! I was so busy running from kitchen to kitchen that snapping pictures was near impossible. And I forgot!

The last one which was the meat sauce will have to wait for it until next week. The 8th graders are making Lasagna and will be using the same meat sauce you will have to tune in next time! I promise pictures for that! The kids are digging their pictures up on the web!


Donna-FFW said...

Great ideas for sauces, I so love alfredo, did you enjoy this one?

Ginger said...

I love this! I would have never guessed they would like pesto so much?? I really like kids and cooking....

Elyse said...

What to help them branch out! Pesto is one of my personal favorites, so I'm super glad you could introduce them to the green delight!! So glad I've found your blog. It's fantastic, and I can't wait to keep reading more.

JennyMac said...

I liked the alfredo but I think it could have used a bit less butter and/or cream, perhaps that is why it was soupy. But the flavor was fantastic. The kids really enjoyed the different types of noodles too!