Basta executive chef demonstrates pasta making


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Italian smells flooded the Pappajohn Business Building Wednesday afternoon as a hands-on cooking demonstration hit full steam.

Brady McDonald, the executive chef of Basta Pizzeria & Ristorante, demonstrated how to properly prepare authentic Italian noodles including ravioli, fettuccine, and tortelli.

Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis, a study-abroad program for graduate, undergraduate, and M.B.A. students at the University of Iowa, hosted the event to draw awareness to their program. Since the institute’s abroad campuses are in Italy, their events all pertain to some facet of Italian culture.

“This is the biggest event we’ve done in awhile,” said Melanie Nelson, event coordinator and marketing intern for the insitute. “We also hold gelato socials and other things like that.”

The institute, which has two campuses in northern Italy, helps approximately 400 students and faculty study abroad annually. The organization was founded at the University of Kansas and branched out to UI in 2008.

Senior accounting student Ben Lockin, who studied abroad with the institute in 2011 and was chosen as McDonald’s assistant, said he enjoyed helping McDonald concoct different types of pasta.

Together, he and McDonald mixed the flour and kneaded it before putting the dough through a stringer to make fettuccine noodles. During the demonstration, McDonald also discussed the history of pasta and its importance, as well as an overview of pasta’s various shapes and sizes.

Nelson said the pairing of the consortium institute and Basta just makes sense.

“Basta is our go-to hang when we’re craving the Italian food we had in Italy,” she said, noting she studied abroad last spring semester.

This is definitely no coincidence — McDonald, who graduated from culinary school at Kirkwood, studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where he developed a special interest in Italian food.

Being asked to take part in this event was a treat for McDonald.

“It’s nice to get out of the office for a little bit, and to work with these fine folks,” he said. “Things like this are always fun,” he said.

What could be more fun than covering your hands in flour for an afternoon?

“I mean, people love Italy, people love Italian food, so why not?” Nelson said.

Basta, which opened in June 2011, has seen a profit in its first two years. “That’s really hard to come by [for restaurants],” McDonald said. “… Once we opened our patio, we started killing it. People love their pasta, pizza, and tiramisu.”

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