Don’t let the title fool you… when I cook, keeping it ‘classy’ is probably the furthest thing from my mind… I usually end up covered head to toe with the various ingredients I’d been working with… if you put ME in the oven, you could probably get something tasty peeled off of me…
But when I say cooking with class… I mean with a cooking class. I got schooled in the art of Italian cuisine IN Italy.
Derek and I spent a morning at a 3 ½ hour class at the Sorrento Cooking School:
We were picked up by the school at 9:30 in the morning and swung by another hotel to pick up a mother and daughter from Toronto. Not picked them up as in asking them out as if we are swingers, nor did we pick them up as in lifting them in the air…
Anyway, we arrived at the school, located on the grounds of the very clean and modern designed Resort Giardino delle Esperidi. We were then met by a family of 5 and a couple in their 20s, all from England, as well as Jessica, our cooking assistant who would translate for the head chef.
After washing our hands, we were then shown how to make Neapolitan pizzas (sadly we did not get our hands on that dough just yet)… While waiting for the dough to rise, (approx. an hour) our hands got “dirty” creating egg pasta for our cheese ravioli. We made a little flour dome, made a divot in the top where we cracked a whole egg. It was all gently mixed together with our hands creating dough… we then let it rest for about 30 minutes. While we waited, we watched the head chef cook up some tomato sauce, which would be used on the pizza as well as the ravioli. When the ravioli dough was ready, we gently rolled it out… adding just the right amount of flour so it wouldn’t be too sticky nor too dry and flaky. We then took dollops of the pre-combined cheese mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan and placed them onto the dough, leaving about three finger’s length at the top and a half-inch between dollops. Then, putting our finger in a bowl of warm water, we made a wet smiley face below the cheese dollops. Then we folded the dough over the dollops pressing down between the dollops (the wet smiley face acted as glue.) With the ravioli cutter we cut pretty half moons. Then, using a pasta cutter, we sliced away the excess dough and made another row of half moons. Jessica (the assistant, not me oddly referring to myself in the third person) then gathered everyone’s raviolis and put them aside.
When the pizza dough was ready, we were each handed a blob of dough, about the size of a baseball, rolled it out into a disk and then it was ready to be fried up in some peanut oil. The dough rose to the surface of the oil, bubbled up and was dried on paper towels. Then, when it was cool enough to handle, it was topped with some tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and fresh basil… voila… mini pizzas. And they were delicious.
Then it was time to make tiramisu…. Unfortunately, the recipe we walked away with isn’t very clear (including such gems as 2 spoons of dark rum (tea or table spoons? well, I’d guess table… can’t have too much run and Wheap Cream… which I assume is whipped cream, but it does not say how much is needed). Not being a lover of coffee or coffee flavored things, I don’t know that it is a great loss that I don’t really remember how to make this. But, when completed, we put our desserts into the fridge until we were ready to eat.
Our chef then made up some delicious ‘Crazy Fish’, which was some kind of local fish (we were told tasted similar to sea bass), which was sautéed with some cherry tomatoes, olive oil, parsley and garlic… and was fantastic.
We then had our tiramisus and having had enough Prosecco and white wine to tolerate the coffee taste, I lapped it all up.
I wish the recipes were written better so I could make everything at home… (though I guess they write better in English than I could write it in Italian). But I still think I’ll try. I’ll let you know when I do and how it goes.