Laura and I consider ourselves very fortunate to enjoy the many perks of our business, but our favorite is most certainly the people we get to meet, spend time with and plan holidays and vacations for with Tuscan Travel Group.
Recently, we spent a fun night learning the art of homemade pasta with our friend, Italian teacher and Chef, Antonella. We welcomed our guests with a glass of prosecco and didn’t waste any time before getting messy with two simple ingredients, flour and eggs. Antonella has a way about her that puts you at ease in the kitchen with something that seems so intimidating…homemade pasta. But, all our guests quickly realized this was something they could do with their families on any given night with ease, grace and what seemed to be on everyone’s faces, pride.
Once everyone had mastered the pasta making portion of the evening, we moved on to another phase of culinary enlightenment…pasta sauces. We reveled in watching Antonella move through the progression from ingredients to end product of three pasta sauces: pesto; meat sauce; and gorgonzola. Finally, the mouth-watering had come to an end and we grabbed our Brunellos and meandered into the dining room to feast on our masterpiece meal. We went around the room attempting to glean the best pasta and sauce of the night, but consensus failed us as we pretty much ended up loving all of them. Ok, maybe the gorgonzola squeaked out a win, but it was close.
Thank you to old and new friends for sharing a very special and enjoyable evening with us. We hope to see many of the same faces around our kitchen counter again and hopefully filling one of our villas with their family and friends someday. We also hope our friends and guests will pay it forward and teach their loved ones the art of homemade pasta…it really is that easy.
As we did with the last cooking class, we are gifting our readers Antonella’s amazing recipes…
Antonella’s Meat Sauce
Serves 6 people
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion and carrots
1 pound ground lamb, or 1⁄2 pound lamb and 1⁄2 pound ground beef
1 28-ounce canned Italian whole plum tomatoes
1 pound of pasta
1 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine oil and chopped onion and carrots in a large pan. Once the onion and carrots are soft, add meat. Let the meat cook for 20 minutes, then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Let the sauce simmer for 45-50 minute over a low heat.
When pasta is ready, mix it together with the sauce, and sprinkle parmigiano cheese on top.
Serve pasta when hot.
Antonella’s Gorgonzola Sauce
Serves 6 people
1 cup of Italian gorgonzola cheese
2 cups of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste.In a large sauce pan, place the gorgonzola cheese and heavy cream. Let the cheese melt and add the salt.
When pasta is ready, transfer it into the gorgonzola sauce pan and let pasta marinate for 3 minutes. Then add pepper.
Serve Pasta hot.
Antonella’s Pesto Sauce
24-30 basil leaves (depending on size of leaf)
1⁄2 cup pine nuts
1⁄2 cup pecorino romano cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
Salt to taste.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Keep at room temperature while you prepare the pasta. When pasta is ready, mix it with the pesto sauce. Decorate with a basil leaf and few pine nuts.