It was indeed a night in Italy! I arrive to the cooking class and I am surprised to see the chef preparing the ingredients. I realized then that the class was not hands-on. Though I was slightly hoping that I would cook my own food, I was still extremely excited to observe and ask questions. The chef had just arrived back from Italy and told us about all things Italian. The trick I realized to cooking pasta is that the pasta must be fresh. Fresh pasta will soak up the sauce, rather than the sauce sinking to the bottom. You might have previously observed the void between the pasta and sauce in your plate and that’s simply because store bought pasta that sometimes looks like “sandpaper” will most likely taste like sandpaper!
The class began with Italy’s famous bread and balsamic vinegar to enjoy while watching the chef cook the first meal, Romano stuffed Mushrooms! I was completely thrown away by the amounts of heavy cream, cream cheese, olive oil, and BUTTER that went into every Italian recipe. And I thought the French were bad! My heart skipped a bit every time large cubes of butter would simmer into the pan, especially after I had just finished my hour and half workout before attending the class! The chef uttered the words of sarcasm, “this is for those who are on a diet” and I laughed, hesitantly. I was in a dilemma; I wanted to taste the recipes but I knew I couldn’t eat the food, while being completely cautious that I wouldn’t offend the chef in any way. Luckily, a very sweet French lady was sitting next to me who gladly ate my food. She had an unbelievably sweet personality; giggled a lot and repeatedly asked the chef to take measures.
The Romano stuffed mushrooms were ABSOLUTELY HEAVEN! I have previously tried a stuffed mushroom recipe and it turned out pretty good as well. But the stuffing in this recipe called for a lot of butter, cream cheese, and romano cheese. It was served with mixed greens drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I sampled the recipe!
Then, the main course was fettuccine alfredo. Yet again, my jaw dropped when the chef was preparing the alfredo sauce in front of us. Butter, Butter, Butter! Lots of Butter! When I asked if there were any substitutions that can be made to alfredo sauce, the chef replied “You absolutely cannot make alfredo sauce without 35% cream!” Voila, information I couldn’t forget for a long time! …This meal was to die for… Literally 🙂
The last on the list was the mascarpone cheese filling with candied oranges and lemon. I really enjoyed this SO much because the sponge cake was so light and flaky (though the filling of the mascarpone cheese was very heavy) but it somehow balanced the dessert. The added blueberries also give it a wonderful taste, and you can always substitute to strawberries, or whatever fruit you enjoy in your dessert. The filling required no heat, so it was quick to whip up. I can see myself definitely making this again, definitely.
I had a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed my time. I really did feel like I fully observed the essence of Italy, and I truly did learn a lot about Italian food!
I am told that an evening in India is coming up, shall we go? 😉
Romano stuffed Mushrooms
- 24 oz mushrooms
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup chives
- 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 2 tbsp. garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper (ground)
- mixed greens
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- 1 pound box fettuccini or fresh noodles
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- 1/2 cup minced chives
Mascarpone Cheese and Oranges and Lemon zest
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound of mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup semisweet melted chocolate
- zest from one orange and one lemon (candid oranges and lemons can be used as well)
- 1 tsp. orange extract