By ALEXIS SOLOSKI
The actress Elizabeth Olsen separated the first egg gracefully. The second? Not so much. And the third was a disaster.
“Get it together, Lizard,” she muttered to herself as she leaned over a stainless-steel bowl.
Ms. Olsen — Lizard to her mother; Lizzie to her sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley — was at City Cooking West End, a demonstration kitchen and event space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was learning to make ravioli all’uovo, a large, filled pasta in which a raw egg yolk lolls inside a ricotta mound, glittering like a little jewel. Ideally.
Finally, Ms. Olsen slid an intact yolk into its nest of cheese and covered it with a square of pasta. “That’s not a square,” she said. “It’s a trapezoid.” Then she trimmed the excess dough, making a shape that wasn’t quite a circle. “I’m not one for symmetry,” she said.
Ms. Olsen, 28, was in New York promoting a pair of movies: “Wind River,” a drama written and directed by Taylor Sheridan about a murder on a snowbound Native American reservation, and “Ingrid Goes West,” a dark comedy about an Instagram influencer and her stalker.
She had been spending about 18 hours a day on media appearances and the preparations they require, and she sometimes couldn’t remember the movie she was meant to discuss. “I’ll literally be in the middle of an interview and not know which one we’re talking about,” she said. (It’s a relief to be asked about social media rather than the rape of indigenous women.) But she found an hour in between a dress fitting and a SAG-Aftra Q. and A. to take a cooking class.
Ms. Olsen grew up in Los Angeles and studied theater at New York University, cooking whenever a friend made a kitchen available. “I had a very foodie college experience,” she said. Between course work and understudying on Broadway, “I did not party, that’s for sure,” she said.
The rap on Hollywood actresses is that they subsist on green juices and aromatherapy fumes. Not Ms. Olsen. Though ambivalent about self-promotion (“The goal was never to be famous,” she said. “That’s why I went to school for theater.”), she has recently been more active on Instagram and likes to post awkward paparazzi shots that capture her devouring a Quest bar or tasting ice cream, with the tag #feedmefridays. Whenever she travels for a location shot, she said, she startles T.S.A. agents fits by filling her luggage with a set of spices and a trusted knife block.
“I’m so glad you said that,” said Stephanie Barlow Sarikaya, the cooking instructor. “It’s dangerous to use dull knives.”
Ms. Olsen nodded and told a story about being afraid that T.S.A. agents would confiscate her Veggetti, a device that makes zucchini noodles. (You could use it to shred an opponent, but only if that person stays very still.) Ms. Sarikaya laughed and then the two of them discussed whether to blanch noodles before saucing them; Ms. Olsen prefers a quick boil, while Ms. Sarikaya worries that it will leave the noddles too watery.
Two sauces simmered on the stove, and Ms. Olsen gave them an occasional stir. She declined the apron meant to protect her black silk blouse, black jeans and black boots but happily accepted a glass of prosecco.
The wine helped ease the arm soreness from a recent tennis game and the neck pain she’d woken up with, a likely whiplash injury from her “Avengers” stunts. (The next film in the series, “Avengers: Infinity War,” will open in 2018. Ms. Olsen plays the Scarlet Witch.) “When you’re pretending to get hit, that’s when you get it,” she said. She risked further injury as she enthusiastically kneaded pasta dough, zested a lemon and shaved a summer truffle.
Ms. Sarikaya said they now use dogs to find truffles.
“That’s so cute,” said Ms. Olsen, before learning that many old-school truffle hunters are missing fingers from having wrested the tubers away from the pigs.
“That’s horrible,” she said.
She had a lot of questions, about fast-acting yeast, and pepper grinders, and the sage she hopes to plant in the herb garden of the Los Angeles house she is renovating. At one point she teased Ms. Sarikaya about whether she could get away with Kraft Parmesan. (Short answer: No.)
When the ravioli emerged from the boiling water, it was beautiful, Instagrammable. “Egg porn,” Ms. Olsen said. But she didn’t take out her phone. Instead she called to her publicist, her hairstylist and her makeup artist — all on hand to primp her for the Q. and A. — to come and join her. Together they cut into the pasta and watched as the daffodil yolk ran out. “That’s really flashy,” Ms. Olsen said.
And then, even though it was only Monday, Ms. Olsen fed herself.