Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

Well, I've been meaning to chronicle the cooking class hubby and I took while we were in Italy, so before too much time passes, here's what I remember.

We were with our tour group, having spent the morning at an Etruscan Museum in Chianciano Terme, heading to the Chianti countryside for a couple of nights. En route, we stopped at Agriturismo La Pietriccia, where chef Stefano met us in the driveway.
I confess, I'd been looking forward to this since our trip began. To be cooking, in Italy, alongside an Italian chef, sounded too good to be true.

We all gathered in a large room, set up for demonstration and prep work at one end, and for gathering around our meal at the other.

The routine was simple to follow. Chef Stefano would "show and tell" a dish, then direct folks to continue on with that task, as he and the rest of us went on to prep the next dish.
Hubby was the first one to get assigned, working with the chef's brother on our appetizer and dessert. Without really meaning to, I remained unassigned for much of our class, which meant I got to see chef demo almost everything. Which was very cool for a foodie like me. Eventually though, it was my turn, and my dish was ricotta gnocchi.
I had made potato gnocchi once ages ago, but had never made or even tasted ricotta gnocchi. And though the ingredients are quite simple (ricotta, flour, and salt), the technique is a little tricky. In fact it took me a few tries to get it right, but finally I did. Ideally though, this type of gnocchi should be dropped into boiling water as they are formed, which wasn't really possible in class. So after a bit, chef added more flour to all the dough, and showed us a different shape that stands up better, and what you'll see in the mosaic below.
At any rate, the class was alot of fun, and there wasn't a dish we made that I wouldn't be willing to try again at home.
Clockwise from upper left: 
Carrot Tartlet, Pici (handmade Sienese Pasta) with wild boar sauce, 
Ricotta Gnocchi, Potato Cake, Sausages, Cabbage Salad, 
Ricotta Lemon Tart served with the chef's own sweet wine

Indeed, the entire adventure proved just as fun - and tasty - as I'd imagined.


  1. My dream...to cook in Italy...to eat my way through Italy! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Yum!! The gnocchi sounds delicious too!

  3. I love all your photos and it sounds like it was so much fun! What a great experience I am sure you will always remember!

  4. Oh, yum! My family used to make potato gnocchi. It's a lot of work! Julia makes our homemade pasta now.

  5. how fun!! What a wonderful way to spend time and make memories while on vacation in Italy!!