When Natalie, the niece of a yoga buddy of mine, invited me to make ravioli at her Foundations of Education Class at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), I thought she must be one very confused student. “How would preparing stuffed fresh pasta help to edify future teachers?” I asked myself.
“We want the students to experience learning and teaching through different modalities,” explained Mary Braccili, LCCC Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, when I called her to inquire about the proposed session. “The five senses — seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting — can all be used in the classroom to enhance learning. And because the unit’s sub-theme this semester is Italy, Mary added, Natalie thought of asking you to make an Italian dish with our students.
(Natalie, I retract my initial doubts — you go to the head of the class!)
And so it was, earlier this week, that my number one sous chef Walter and I had big big fun with a hands-on session in preparing Cheese Ravioli with Sage Butter at the LCCC Fowler Center kitchen.
The students rotated in groups of four in rolling the prepared egg-flour dough on a hand-cranked pasta machine into gossamer 4-inch wide strips. Then they dolloped on the filling mixture of ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyere, and parsley. Quickly they folded the dough strip over, tamped out the air between the dollops, and cut and sealed the ravioli with serrated wheels.
As I supervised, the young cooks experienced how the dough should look and feel — as smooth as modeling compound but not sticky. As the end of class neared, we boiled the ravioli just for a few minutes, then drained and tossed them in sizzling butter and fresh sage leaves. The nutty herbal aroma evoked an idyllic autumn day. At last, we tasted the tender morsels. A-plus to the ravioli makers at LCCC!