On Sept. 18, five NOVA culinary students at the Annandale Campus participated in a special cooking class to raise goods for the NOVA food bank. This class, taught by Chef Mike Herbert, featured Bolognese sauce and lasagna, homemade Caesar salad and dressing with Parmesan garlic croutons, and a rosemary and garlic focaccia.
To partake in this experience, each participant brought in certain, non-perishable food items, which were donated to the NOVA food bank. These items will help our students overcome financial issues to make ends meet.
The first item on the menu was the focaccia. The students learned how to bloom the yeast, as well as when and how to add the flour and olive oil. Chef Mike showed them how to knead the dough and what to look for to make certain it was done correctly. Students saw how to proof the dough, and how it rose in the proof box. They then went on and made the Bolognese sauce, which is an Italian tomato and meat sauce, one of the staples of lasagna.
They saw how to sauté the vegetables, brown the meat, and add the tomatoes, herbs, and seasonings. While the sauce simmered, they made the garlic/Parmesan croutons. Here they infused butter and olive oil with chopped garlic, which they sprinkled on the bread cubes. They added the oregano and Parmesan cheese, and toasted the croutons in the oven until they were browned. From there they tore the Romaine lettuce, and made the Caesar dressing.
Once the focaccia dough rose, they placed it in the pans and into the oven to bake. To round out their endeavors, the students assembled the lasagna with the Bolognese sauce, the Ricotta and spinach mixture, and the lasagna pasta. And just like that, the focaccia and lasagna went into the oven, and soon everyone feasted. Chef Mike showed them how giving back can be fun, informative, and inspirational at the same time.