Spending time in a Roman kitchen provides an unparalleled opportunity to dig beneath the surface and learn about one of the most important aspects of the city’s culture: its cuisine. Our half-day cooking class takes you into the home and kitchen of a local chef to learn some basics of Italian cooking and then indulge in a feast of your own creation. Here are some photographic highlights of this unique, fun and very tasty experience.
No Italian cooking class would be complete without a glass or two of prosecco to lubricate proceedings. Plus, of course, the requisite bruschetta--a simple but delicious traditional Italian antipasto consisting of freshly chopped tomatoes and basil on toasted bread with a drizzle of olive oil.
There’s something extra satisfying about broccolo romanesco, with its supernatural fractalized buds. The fact that it can be eaten--and tastes so good--is just the icing on the cake! Chop the broccoli, then boil it in water for about five minutes before draining. In another pan, heat some olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic (lightly crushed but not peeled and chopped) and two anchovies. When the garlic and anchovies turn brown (the anchovies melt into the oil), throw in the broccoli and sauté for a few minutes, until it’s creamy and shiny all over.
Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each date and seal with a toothpick. Preheat some oil in a pan and fry the dates on both sides until golden brown. Try adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar and let the dates caramelise for several seconds. Serve immediately. These ones didn’t last long!
During this session, we cooked pasta alla Norma, a classic dish from Sicily made with tomatoes, fried eggplant, grated hard ricotta and basil. It is apparently named after Bellini’s opera Norma. We used traditional Sicilian rigatoni pasta, for added authenticity.
This classic Roman dish is simple but incredibly effective. Make sure your veal slices are very thin, then add a slice of cured ham, a sage leaf, salt and pepper, and seal lengthways with a toothpick. In a pan, melt some butter, then add the saltimbocca. Let it cook for a couple of minutes before adding white wine and letting it evaporate until the saltimbocca are golden.
Given the light fluffiness of these heavenly pastries, it’s hard to believe they are completely gluten (wheat) free. The exact recipe is a strict family secret belonging to chef Daniela and her son, and there’s only one way to find it out.
During the cooking class, there’s always a choice of local wine available to wash down the fruits of your labour. On this occasion, we chose an exquisite Chianti from neighbouring Tuscany.
After all that hard work and concentration, it was so satisfying to sit down to an exceptional meal in Daniela’s beautiful home.