Travel, FeaturesDuke FORM

Culinary Journal: Rob Kinneen

Travel, FeaturesDuke FORM
Culinary Journal: Rob Kinneen

Originally from Alaska, Rob Kinneen is a nationally renowned chef with a commitment to using local and indigenous ingredients. The current head chef at The Boot Italian Restaurant of Durham collaborated with Duke Dining to put on an interactive pasta making class for Duke students. In addition to introducing us to his time-tried techniques for making different varieties of pasta, Kinneen shared with us his cooking philosophy. According to Kinneen, the importance of using indigenous and locally-sourced ingredients lies in reducing food security challenges and optimizing the nutritional value of food. His Alaskan background gives him insight into these issues, as many small communities in the state do not have grocery stores in their towns. His platform on indigenous and sustainable food led him to be selected to cook for President Obama in 2015 during the President’s visit to Alaska, a career experience he describes as one of the most “surreal” and “nerve-wracking” thus far.




Flat, thick noodle-shaped pasta, literally “little ribbons”
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt


1.     Combine the all-purpose flour with the semolina flour.
2.     Form a mound with the flour in the center of a large wooden board or bowl. Make a well in the center of the mound and add the eggs. Using a fork, beat the eggs together and then begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. While expanding the well, push the flour up to retain the well shape.
3.     When half of the flour is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together. Start kneading the dough, using the palms of the hands.
4.     Continue kneading for 10 minutes, dusting the board with additional flour as necessary. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.
5.     Flatten the dough to the width of your pasta machine and roll it ought so that it is thin enough to fit through the machine’s largest roller setting. Lower the setting by two or three increments after each run. Flour the dough between runs.
6.     When the desired thickness is achieved, roll dough through the adapter to cut the noodles. 
7.     Cook in salted boiling water until al dente, about 1 to 3 minutes. 



Dumpling-shaped pasta shells, literally “little hollows”
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 cups ricotta cheese (preferably strained overnight)
¼ cup milk
1 egg


1.     Mix the ricotta, egg and milk together. 
2.     Combine flour and salt.
3.     Fold the wet ingredients into the salt and flour mixture using the well method.
4.     Dust the dough with flour on the top and bottom, wrap with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
5.     Cut dough into 12” long strips of about two fingers widths each.  
6.     Roll each strip on a lightly floured board to form a long, round log.
7.     Cut the log into ½” pieces.
8.     Using the edge of the thumb, run each piece along a cavatelli board or along the tines of a fork. Place pieces on a floured pan until ready to cook.
9.     Cook in salted boiling water. 
10. Once the cavatelli float to the top, simmer for 30-45 seconds before removing from water.


Words by Sophia Li
Video by Hannah Godefa