The apartment we stay in during the Cook With Panini Girl In Lucca tour has the perfect kitchen for a cooking class. In fact, a few years ago the owner of the building did a big remodel, actually relocating the kitchen from another part of the apartment. It was his intention to create a kitchen that would not only be large and well equipped for a group to cook in, but would also be the perfect spot for cooking lessons.
We began the class by making the dessert first since it needed time to chill-pannacotta with a fresh strawberry sauce. From there we moved on to our starter which was fried pizza dough that we ate topped with salumi. I grew up eating pizza fritta but we always topped ours with a marinara sauce and a little romano cheese. This was something new for me and I loved the combination of the warm dough and the salty and somewhat fatty salumi.
We each made our own dough which we then melded together and set aside to rise until it was time to fry it up.
I would say that the highlight of the evening was making pasta dough, this time without using a pasta machine. It was going to be done by hand all the way using the mattarello (a very long wooden rolling pin) and hand cutting the dough into noodles. I did get a quick lesson last year making pasta this way, but this time it was much more thorough and I think I got the hang of it-we’ll see when I get home and try it on my own.
This was really the “laugh” part of the evening. There was flour flying everywhere, including all over a few of the cooks!
Our pasta course was topped with a sauce we made using dried porcini and milk, rather than cream. In the meantime our main course was simmering away on the stove-pork ribs with rosemary, sage, garlic, olives and a little tomato puree. This was served alongside sweet and sour fennel which was outstanding. I’m a huge fennel fan and have never had it this way. You’ll be seeing it here on the blog when I get back home and into the kitchen.
And last but not least the pannacotta which is a dessert that should be in everyone’s repertoire-it’s that easy. It’s simply cooked cream with a little gelatin added and you can vary the flavor or your topping. We were stuffed, to say the least, but in a good way.