Who better to teach us how to make pasta than the Italians?
This was something I’d been dying to do since we had arrived. I even looked into enrolling in cooking school for visa purposes when we were getting ready to move here. But all of the schools were not cheap. As I was reading up on places we intended to go on our end-of-school Italian road trip, I found out about Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli (in the province of Emilia-Romagna) and they offered classes that didn’t break the bank. Also included was tour of the area and history of the cooking school, which was offered in English. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the actual cooking class was in Italian. Talk about true test of what I’ve learned here!
Luckily, if there is one area of the Italian language I’ve picked up, it’s the food-related words and with Dave as my backup translator, it was completely manageable and our chef Carla was incredibly patient. First, she showed us how to make dough for egg noodles, then flour noodles and went over specifically what type of flour is best with each.
We also learned a few handy pasta shapes and which is best for each type of sauce and then she turned us loose! Now I want a giant wooden board and extra long rolling pin so I can make my own pasta noodles.
The class was so much fun and definitely a highlight of our trip. My only regret was that I stupidly scheduled the class on Day 1 of the adventure. I should have assumed we would have some pasta to take home. At least going forward, we had booked places with a kitchen, but jar sauce does not do homemade noodles any sort of justice.
We finished the class around 1:30 and knew we needed to grab some lunch, but it was also starting to rain, so we figured we would get on the road and find something along the way. Yet each small town we drove through seemed sleepy (even for a Friday). At one point, we arrived in a tiny village (by this time 2:30) and the only restaurant open was finishing service (to their credit, they did offer to heat up some soup for us) but we didn’t want to be the obnoxious Americans, so we opted to find a grocery store.
Yep. With a car full of homemade pasta in the food capital of Italy, we dined on the finest packaged delights from a supermarket. Not even a local, artisan market– A COOP. The Safeway of Italy. To really class up the occasion, we ate in the car, not far from a couple of skater-looking kids who were hanging out in the parking garage of the grocery store.
We did, however, arrive in Bologna in time to visit the city on a Friday night and grab a real meal, but aside from the Bolognese that was to come, the pasta class was definitely my favorite part of the trip!
I’ll be posting more about our Italian road trip later this week, but it will be in between packing and cleaning in preparation for our move back to the States! Whoo-hoo! This time next week, we’ll be on approach to New York. We really can’t wait.