Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning to Cook, Tuscan Style

GUYS TOMORROW I GO TO SICILY FOR THE WEEKEND! I am ridiculously excited about this. The food! The sea! Mt. Etna! The Mafia!

However, Sicily is not the only cool thing happening to me this week - my program took us on a cooking lesson at a local restaurant on Monday, where we learned how to make lots of delicious Italian food!

The group, in our stylish aprons

Our chef, Pino, started out by teaching to make the dessert, a biscotti type of deal called cantucci, made with lots of almonds and honey and other delicious things. We got to mix it by hand, and had great fun squishing the eggs, like the 5 year olds we are.

hand mixing!

Wonderful cantucci, all baked

Then it was time for pasta making! We once again reveled in hand mixing (aka squishing eggs), and then ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the pasta making machine - you put a bunch of dough in at one end, turn a crank, and lovely long strips of pasta come out that you can then cut and shape into your desired form of pasta.


pasta strip!

First we made gnocchi (YUM, favorite), which did not require the pasta maker, obviously, as it is just little pillow blobs of potato dough. Then we made tortellini and ravioli and something called caramelle, which looked like little pieces of candy, all of which were stuffed with ricotta and either spinach or eggplant.

forming the pasta

We watched Pino cook some of the pasta and learned that when pasta is freshly made, you just wait for it to bob to the surface for it to be cooked - it takes all of 2 minutes. Delicious. When the pasta was done, he cooked up some to-die-for pumpkin cream sauce and plated up a plate for us.

Crazy deliciousness, with Pino!

Did I mention that this entire lesson was in Italian? I was proud of myself for understanding so much.

After the lesson, we retired to the dining room, where we ate a mind-blowing amount of food. We had 7 different types of pasta. That's right. Seven. I had the biggest food baby in existence. But it was so worth it. How often do you get to have a cooking lesson in Tuscany? You guys. My life.

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