We met at 11:30 in the morning under the column in Piazza Santa Trinita. Roberta and I were ready! We both made a quick call to our moms (who both laughed when we told them what we were about to do…oh my!), while the other participants joined us. At 11:45 am on the nose, the C4 tour organized by the CAF agency began. What lie ahead for us? Cooking lessons: today we would make fresh homemade pasta!
We crossed the bridge to get to the workshop. The simple space had steel tables with 4–5 people grouped around each table. Fabrizio, who welcomed us, was our guide through the pasta-making process.
We all washed our hands and we dove right into making the dough. We made two types; one based on durum wheat flour and water for the tagliatelle, and the other with 00 semolina flour and eggs, for the pappardelle and potato tortelli.
We mixed all the ingredients with a fork in a bowl and then went on, using our hands right on the work tables. After having made a smooth, even dough, we wrapped it in film and put it in the refrigerator to set.
We went on to the sauces to go on our pasta. For the meat sauce, we cut vegetables into cubes and added ground beef and tomato paste to the mixture. We sliced the mushrooms, put them in the pan with oil and garlic and sautéed them with a touch of white wine.
We halved the small tomatoes, dressed them with a mixture of oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and lemon and put them in the refrigerator. We mashed potatoes that had already been baked, added some tomato paste, salt, pepper and parsley, and the filling for the tortelli was ready!
After about a half hour, we took the dough we had put in the refrigerator and gave our pasta its shape. Plenty of flour, and with the help of a pasta maker, we made sheets that got thinner and thinner each time through.
Under the watchful eye of Fabrizio, we first made the tagliatelle, then the tortelli with the potato filling and, lastly, the pappardelle. It was nice to see how, even though we didn’t know each other yet, we all worked together through the steps and set up a full-fledged assembly line.
We put our pasta to cook in boiling salted water, topped the tagliatelle with the tomatoes, the pappardelle with the mushrooms and the potato tortelli with meat sauce. And it was time to eat!
In a cozy, rustic dining space, we relished what we cooked all together.
A nice red wine paired with the meal and… oops, it was already 2:30 and my shift at work was starting! But I sure couldn’t go without having tried the dessert we had made in a few, easy steps while we were working on the sauces.
Over low heat, we had mixed together cream, sugar, starch and gelatin. We had poured the cream into small molds and put it in the freezer to make it gel more quickly. And there we had it at the end of the meal: our chocolate panna cotta.
A perfect day for anyone who loves discovering Italy’s beauties by way of the kitchen table.
Caf Tour & Travel
Via degli Alfani, 151/R – Florence
Tel. 055.210612 – 055.283200
English translation by Miriam Hurley