I passed Italian Cooking Class……..again!

Cooking Class & Lunch at a beautiful Tuscan Farmhouse. This was my third time, (my husband’s second) of doing this tour/cooking class. We introduced our friends to this fun food filled day.

The class begins with a walking tour of Florence where you purchase most of the ingredients for the meal that you will prepare. Tomatoes and fresh basil from the market stand. Meat for the Ragu and Parmesan Cheese and mozzarella cheese for the pasta and pizza.

We then board a mini bus to take us up to the hills above Florence to a beautiful farmhouse. We get settled and begin to make our light lunch. Bruschetta, Ragu, fresh pasta, pizza, pork roast & potatoes and Tiramisu, all while enjoying Chianti from this region. The whole day costs around $110 US. Me pictured with Carmela!

Bruschetta

The perfect starter….Simple to prepare but exceptionally fresh and delicious.

Ingredients:
Tuscan Bread (enough for 4 chunky slices) 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
2 handfuls of fresh mixed ripe tomatoes
a small bunch of fresh basil leaves

preparation:
1)Dice the tomatoes.

2)Put them in a bowl and add the chopped basil leaves, salt, chopped garlic and olive oil and mix them together.

3)Thickly slice the bread and grill or toast on both sides. 4)Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.
5)Spoon on the tomato mix and enjoy.

Fresh Homemade Egg Pasta

 

Impress your friends by making your own pasta! This recipe is the base for all types of home-made pasta.

Ingredients:
400g (14oz) plain flour (00 type flour or All Purpose Flour) 4 eggs

preparation:
1)Sift the flour on to a clean work surface. Form a kind of volcano-shaped mound with a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the middle. Use your hand to keep the shape of the volcano and mix it together by slowly adding the flour to the eggs with a fork. Continue to mix the flour into the eggs with your hands until it forms a coarse paste.

2)Next clean your hands and the work surface and lightly sprinkle with flour. Start to knead the dough with the heel of one hand. Continue to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough gets hard just wet your hands and continue to knead and it will become softer. Wrap the dough in cling-film and place to one side to rest for around 10 minutes.

3)Place the dough out on the lightly floured work surface and gently roll it out with a rolling pin to form a sheet of roughly 3mm in thickness. Fold the dough over little by little sprinkling a little flour over the dough each time. Cut into small rolls, open them and put to rest on a clean cloth for about 30 minutes.

4)When ready, bring to the boil a pot of salted water, add the pasta and cook it for 7-10 minutes as desired.

Cooking pasta:Italians like to eat their pasta ‘al dente’ so here are a few tips to make sure you cook your pasta the Italian way….

-As a first choice make fresh pasta by following this recipe, but if this is not possible, then buy pasta with egg. If cooking bought pasta strictly follow the timings given on the box to prevent the pasta from becoming too soft!
-Make sure the sauce is always ready for when the pasta is. Never cook the pasta and then leave it til the sauce is ready, so time carefully and if the sauce you choose takes a long time to make, then prepare it before hand and refrigerate if needed.

-If your sauce gets too thick then use the pasta water to reduce it slightly rather than normal water.
-Salt the cooking water as it comes to the boil before putting in your pasta.
-When the pasta is ready toss it into the pan to ensure that the pasta is covered in its sauce.

Ragù meat sauce

To truly master the authentic Italian Ragù alla Bolognese one must strictly follow the below ingredients, measurements and timings.

difficulty – 2 out of 5
serves – 4
preparation/cooking time – 2 hours 15 minutes cooking process – Pan

Ingredients:
1 chopped celery stalk
half a large finely chopped onion
1 carrot, roughly chopped
4/5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 400g (14oz) of beef minced meat
1 glass of table red wine
500g (18oz) of tomatoes passata (puree) salt

preparation:
1)Chop the celery, onion & carrot together.

2)Put the chopped mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the olive oil and heat over a medium heat. Sautè until golden brown.

3)Add the beef mince meat and continue to sauté until meat is lightly browned and all the juices of the meat have been soaked up. Add salt to taste and make sure that the meat is broken up.

4)At this stage add the wine and continue to sautè until the ragù sauce has soaked up the wine. Continually check that the meat does not stick and add a little water if too dense.

5)Finally add the tomatoes passata (when there is no more liquid) and salt to taste and simmer for 2 hours. The final result should be ragù sauce of a deep red colour.

Roast Pork

A traditional meat dish in Tuscany cooked to perfection.

difficulty – 2 out of 5
serves – 4
preparation time – 10 minutes cooking time – 40 minutes cooking process – Oven

Ingredients
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh rosemary
2 leaves of sage
500g (18oz) centre cut pork loin roast 1 glass of red wine
salt & pepper

preparation
1)Preheat oven to 200 ̊ (400 ̊F) Gas mark 6. Use the whole clove of garlic with the skin till on to prevent burning, finely chop the rosemary and the sage together, then add some salt and pepper.

2)Season and rub the pork with the herbs mixture and place in roasting pan.

3)Roast for 40 minutes pouring a glass of white wine or vegetable broth over the meat if it starts to get dry. The pork should be crisp and brown.

Note
Place the pork on a platter and surround it with potatoes. Pour pan juices into a bowl and spoon off fat. Pour defatted juices over meat.

 

2)Chop the potatoes and place them on a baking tray
3) Sprinkle the rosemary, finely chopped garlic, sage and salt & pepper over the potatoes
and then drizzle with oil.
4)Place the potatoes in the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes stirring half way.
Tirami
An Italian classic! There are of course many versions all over Italy, but this one is simple,
traditional and divinely delicious.
Ingredients
4 eggs
6 tbsp caster sugar
500g (18oz)mascarpone
20 Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers)
250 ml strong black espresso coffee
20g cocoa powder
1 full glass Marsala
preparation
1)Separate the eggs.
2)Place the sugar (5 tbsp) and yolks in a bowl and mix them togrether.
3)Add the mascarpone and mix until creamy.
4) Beat the egg whites separately in a bowl, add 1 tbsp sugar and then incorporate it in to
the mixture by gently moving the tablespoon from the bottom of the mixture to the top.
5)Take another bowl and add the coffee with the Marsala.
6)Dip the biscuits in the coffee for a couple of seconds (no longer otherwise they’ll break).
7)Line a bowl (for one portion) with a layer of cream. Cover with the biscuits and then pour
on another layer of cream. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the cream. Add another layer
of biscuits and then a double layer of cream. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the cream
and chill for an hour. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.
difficulty – 1 out of 5
serves – 4
preparation time – 15 minutes (plus 1 day to freeze)
cooking process – None Neede

Pizza

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