April 29, 2019
On our trip to Italy over Easter, I took the family to a small village outside Greve in Chianti (south of Florence) for a family cooking class.
It took place in the home of Stefania Balducci, whose website you can find here: http://pastaalpesto.com
Our first sight when we walked in her door was the table set for the meal we would create with her help.
Then we put on our aprons and stepped into her kitchen, which was all set up for us.
The ingredients, which Stefania sources locally, were ready. The main course would be roast lamb sautéed in herbs and spices.
Time to chop the onions.
With a touch of olive oil and black pepper, the onions will serve as the bed for roasting our lamb.
Throw in some herbs, lemon zest (shaved lemon skin), and garlic, and the lamb is ready for the oven.
While the lamb cooks, we check out the ingredients for our dessert: strawberry tiramisu.
What’s the little plastic pink piggy thing? It’s a clever little device for removing the yolk from the egg white after you’ve cracked one open.
Slicing the strawberries.
Squeezing the lemons.
Stirring the custard.
Then we pack each jar with lady fingers and strawberries, pour on the custard, and tap it to make the custard fill in all the gaps.
We label each jar of tiramisu with our names, so we can which has liqueur and which doesn’t, before putting them in the refrigerator.
Next we’re going to cut some fennel to cook topped with Parmesan cheese to accompany the lamb main course.
The sliced fennel, dipped raw into olive oil with a touch of black pepper, also makes a snack for us to eat while we’re preparing the rest of the meal.
At the kids’ request, we’re going to make two pasta dishes: spaghetti and ravioli. Here’s the tomato sauce for the spaghetti simmering on the stove.
And now we’re going to chop up some leeks for the ravioli filling.
Stefania mixing the eggs and flour by hand to make pasta dough.
My son does not look convinced this is going to work out.
Everybody takes their turn kneading the pasta dough.
And now we use the machine to roll the pasta dough flat.
And then put dollops of filling onto the flat sheet of dough, cover and mold them, cut them, and individually fold them into pieces of ravioli ready for cooking.
My son is getting really into shaping his ravioli.
Now it’s time to lay out some long sheets of pasta dough that will become spaghetti.
It takes a little bit of practice, but the kids got their spaghetti-making down pat.
We made spaghetti.
Stepping outside for a breath of fresh air while the pasta is cooking.
Lunch is served. First course: leek-filled ravioli in cream sauce and spaghetti in tomato sauce.
Second course: roast sautéed lamb …
Accompanied by roast sliced fennel topped with Parmesan cheese.
And to be honest, the jars full of strawberry tiramisu dessert were gobbled down so quickly I didn’t even get a picture of the finished product.
Some last impressions of our family cooking class in Tuscany. The end.