Roasted Pepper Marinara and Homemade Pasta

We cook a lot at CommunityGrows. After all, there are a lot of vegetables in our gardens and the kids love to eat! So one Monday afternoon in July, Kennard Smith, a terrific personal chef, came back to help kids at Hayward Rec Center make roasted pepper tomato marinara and fresh pasta. Kennard currently works for, and on the weekends he rents out the Mercury Lounge and cooks up authentic Caribbean bar menu cuisine.

He was joined by our regular cooking crew of Adrian Gaino and Adrian Almquist, along with BEETS Chyna Russell and Shontay Vessell.

Colleen Hickey, one of our fabulous volunteers, joined us. She volunteers with Community Grows as a way to become more involved in the community, and as a way to give back. Having grown up in Chicago, Colleen attended public school and was active in park programs like gardening, day camp and sports. She worked as a civil engineer (for the government) in Chicago, LA, the Gulf Coast (following Hurricane Katrina), Iraq, and Afghanistan.
To start the cooking class, the kids made the pasta dough, roasted the peppers and chopped the tomatoes. Then the vegetables went into a blender and on the stove to simmer. The fun was just beginning. Out came the pasta machine and like magic the dough turned into streams of pasta. Taking turns turning cranking the pasta machine and waiting patiently paid off a short time later, when students got to sample fresh pasta united with amazing sauce. The adults and kids marveled at how smooth and light the dish was. How delicious! Check out more photos from the day at our Flickr CommunityGrows photostream.