Cooking Class in Rome, Italy

We all have dreams and I merrily share that I achieved one of my dreams of cooking in Rome, Italy. Rome is a metropolis with astounding architecture and history, and while I joyfully absorbed these components, cooking at the restaurant, That’s Amore, was one of the highlights of my visit. Showing up an eager, bright-eyed American, I sensed the chefs were skeptical about my dedication to learning. I deem this due to the ill-fated, but factual ways of Americans, which are less home cooking, highly preserved foods, and habitual dining out. I could not deny these stereotypes I examined in their eyes, but I could demonstrate I am a passionate cook.  As I put on an oversized apron, the anticipation welled up inside me and all stereotypes were elapsed. I was set to dive head first into the world of Italian cuisine and make two pasta dishes.  I was fortunate to be privy to secrets of making pasta and sauces, along with recipes to take home.

The first dish I prepared was Artichoke Stuffed Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce.  This dish is made with egg pasta and filled with steamed artichoke, egg yolk, freshly made ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese.  We began with me incorporating the flour with the egg and kneading the dough, which required much strength, but I felt this was much better than using a food processor, per the books I have at home.  There was something special about feeling the dough and determining how much flour to add based off consistency, instead of specific measurements. Once I finished kneading the dough, I rolled out the pasta for placement in the pasta maker. As each setting on the pasta maker was changed, the dough magically became thinner and longer, until the dough was transparent and I could see my hand through it.  I stuffed and cut the ravioli into scalloped pillows, which were ready for boiling and being topped with a sage butter sauce.

Setting aside the ravioli for cooking later, I moved onto my favorite class moment of making Tomato Bacon Cavatelli. This is not egg pasta, but simply made from flour and water. What makes this pasta special is the preparation of shaping the pasta by hand.  As I curled each piece using my fingers, I was like a kid in a candy store, because I could not believe my own personal touch could create such gorgeous pasta. I felt like I was molding tiny pieces of art out of dough.  I was informed everyone’s cavatelli has its own personality based off the chef creating the dish, which made me feel at one with my food. Pasta without egg requires a heavier sauce with bolder flavors, so I chose a tomato bacon sauce for the cavatelli, as my enthrallment with pork will never cease. After completing the pastas, the chefs finished off the sauces, while disclosing some tips.  I returned home this week and I feel privileged to have been a recipient of Italian hospitality.  I will work hard to recreate the magic bestowed upon me, in my own kitchen, from That’s Amore.

That’s Amore
115, Via in Arcione – 00187 Roma