Our balcony is in full bloom! Gianni & I make a mean bowl of fettuccine, but we don't have much of a green thumb. This spring, my mother in law came down to Rome to help us out with our balcony. She keeps a gorgeous garden up at her villa in Umbria. With her help, we built flower beds and planted lots of plants (and herbs for our cooking class!). A few weeks ago they started flowering and now we especially love the view from our balcony. You can see some of the flowers in the photo here that beautifully frame the rooftop views of Rome. Thank you Ludovica for your help with this!
And thank you to Stacy for taking this photo last week and sharing it with us!
Passata di pomodoro
Last night we cooked over 15 pounds of tomatoes for almost 3 hours, then we passed them through a fine-meshed strainer. We took the strained juice of the cooked tomatoes, and we reduced it further for two hours. In the end, after almost 5 hours of cook time, we got an extremely flavorful sauce- our traditional Italian passata. But those 15 pounds of tomatoes only yielded a few cups of sauce! It doesn't seem like much, but the flavor packed a punch! Take one of our cooking classes to learn the technique!
I doubt many of you have heard of coppiette. If you come to Italy, and order them at your specialty grocery store, you will get pork coppiette, which are strips of pork covered in fennel and salt, then air dried until "cooked". Well what you see photographed here is something very different.
... Click read on below...
Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting Julie & Jake. Loved how precise their spinach & ricotta ravioli looked so we thought we'd post a photo here. Even amateurs can make gorgeous (and delicious) pasta from scratch! Julie even posted a few more great photos from the day on our Facebook page; click here to check them out. Thanks Julie & Jake for sharing your pictures! For more photos they took click READ MORE below.
We hosted 6 lovely ladies today for our morning cooking class. One of them took this gorgeous photo. Not only do we love it, we made it our background photo on Facebook! ... and the pasta was pretty good, too!
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Let's make tiramisù!
Yesterday we had a full house in our kitchen- 3 families with a total of 4 kids. These littles ones always impress us: peeling artichokes like pros, making pasta from scratch like nonnas who have been doing it from decades. They are eager to learn any new task!
Gianni finally received his new deep-fryer in the mail... so what's the first thing he tests with it? Whole-fried artichokes, of course.
In Rome, these are called Carciofi all Giudia (literally Jewish-style artichokes) and they are one of Rome's most famous dishes.
These were a delicious lunch for us today. I love it when Gianni "practices" in the kitchen!
PIZZA and more PIZZA!
Yesterday, utter chaos reigned in our kitchen when a family of 9 with 5 children came over to learn to learn to make pizza & pasta from scratch. We had so much fun with the kids, who after making their dinner, started climbing the stairs like monkeys. The pizza turned out delicious, if I can so so myself. The kids (one as young as 6 years old!) learned to peel and prepare artichokes, roll out their pizza and make cavatelli pasta by hand from scratch with nothing but semolina flour and water. They even learned how to make Gianni's tiramisú. We love working with kids because of their enthusiasm and joy they transmit in everything they do!
We love leeks in our house; we braise them, roast them, sauté them, basically eat them in any way we can. Tonight was a bit chilly so I thought a lovely leek and potato soup sounded good.
Crostone with cheese
How delicious does this mozzarella & tomato bruschetta look? No filter here- look at how red those tomatoes are!!
Look at these fabulous gluten-free pumpkin ravioli Gianni made! He is quite the expert since his girlfriend is a celiac. Pasta for celiacs can be tasty and just as delicious as "regular" pasta. If you're a celiac, let us know when you book a lesson so we can create a special menu for you. You'll want to taste Gianni's gluten-free tiramisu!
Puntarelle are a typical Roman side dish that are only available in the winter into early spring. These are the roots of a local chicory plant that are peeled, sliced and eaten raw. When served with a pungent anchovy vinaigrette, they are just delicious. Crunchy, salty with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. You can buy them like this- cleaned and ready to go- at most farmer's markets in Rome. But often they are cleaned in a hurry, and so many bites remain woody and tough. If you take the time to peel them and clean them properly at home, it's worth the effort.
Carciofi alla romana
My wife loves Carciofi alla Romana- artichokes stuffed with garlic, roman mint and pepper, and stewed with some water and olive oil on a slow flame. Even our 9-month old devoured them. Yum!
My wife is a pasta addict: she could eat homemade fettuccine every meal of the day. She would keep me chained to the kitchen every night making pasta for her. Come take a class with us to learn how to make pasta for your wife: it's cheaper than buying jewelry :)
Ever cook with a broccolo romano? We are going to make sformato today with it- basically a savory flan.
It is IMPOSSIBLY hard to find a good crostata; most restaurants or coffee bars don't make their own, they just sell a tasteless and dry version they buy commercially in bulk. Since crostata is my favorite dessert, I take my time and put love into making them. The crust should be buttery with an ever-so-light lemon taste; the jelly (homemade is best!) should be just the right ratio to the crust. If there is too much jelly, the crostata falls apart when you try to eat it and it makes the whole dessert too sweet. Yes, I'm difficult, but my crostata is delicious! Come learn how to make the perfect crostata with me in one of our cooking classes!
Ever had a Mont Blanc dessert? This typical Italian sweet is a sugary "mountain" made up of chestnuts, meringues and whipped cream. It's my wife's favorite so I'm making one for her birthday tomorrow! Hopefully, she'll share a bite or two with me!
Fresh ricotta cheese
Have you ever REAL RICOTTA CHEESE? Not that bland stuff they sell in American supermarkets. This cheese is so rich and so creamy and it melts on your tongue. It's my favorite ingredient to add inside of fresh ravioli. Ricotta and zucchini, ricotta and spinach, or ricotta and pumpkin; which would you prefer?
How gorgeous do these artichokes look? I love it when I find artichokes with long stems- those are the best part! Tasty and smooth- why toss them out? I'll make a delicious artichoke stem soup today at our cooking lesson. Join us to learn how!
Gianni & Cesare share their experiences while cooking, shopping and living in Rome.