The best part of the trip to Italy was the cooking class where Chef Monica picked us up in a shuttle with three other strangers and we ventured into a little town of only 50 people for a real authentic cooking experience. First we went to the butcher where the father daughter duo were slicing and dicing meat filets while singing in stereotypical italian style to the women preparing for their dinner. We then went to the only two stores in town, the fruteria where I found the biggest lemons ever and the minimart where we found the rest of our ingredients.
We made everything from bruscetta, fried zucchini, fried chicken, tomato feta bites, boozy peaches, to three different types of pasta and sauces.
The three pastas were a spinach ricotta filled ravioli, a semolina cavatelli with an eggplant tomato sauce, and a linguini with basil pesto.
The best new recipe I picked up was the “pizza” which is made mostly in southern Italy from when the women in WWII did not have all the ingredients needed to make traditional pizza with yeast. I have already made the pasta several times since my return and have different results every time. The ingredients are simple but they did not give measurements so it must be “eyeballed.” The toppings can vary. In the cooking class we used mandolin sliced potatoes and at home I used zucchini.
- seltzer water
- white flour
- pinch of sugar
- pinch of salt
- lots of olive oil
When combining the ingredients, it makes a crepe like batter which is poured into the pan (which is generously covered in EVOO). I completely cover the pizza with potatoes or zucchini and sprinkle with rosemary. It is baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
It seemed to work best when cooked in a scone tin as it provides optimal edges, but a rimmed cookie sheet is just as great.