Ciao From Italy + Fresh Pasta!
I have no words for how incredible the first Cucina Tour of Italy was. For me, it was literally a life-changing experience. I learned more about myself in those 10 days than I ever anticipated. I know I want to do many more trips just like it - and I hope to have many more people join me! It gave me so much joy to share my passion for food and my heritage in this way with a group of people. And even more to meet incredible chefs and artisans who share the same passion!
Every single person who we worked with was passionate about their craft, excited to educate us, and patient while fielding questions in different languages, occasionally multiple times over! Truly, the secret ingredient in any dish is love - and the Italians put it in everything they do! We had fabulous cooking classes, learning to make pizza, focaccia, cantucci, pasta, ravioli and tiramisu. We learned the proper way to taste olive oil, and how to know if it's truly a high quality oil or not (the secret? It should actually smell like fresh cut grass!). We saw how dry pasta is made and learned how wheat has been manipulated, causing a variety of modern diseases. We learned how you can pack cheese in all kinds of things to impart flavor to the final product. And of course, we tasted wine...lots of wine!
It's easy to be passionate when you're surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills. We would ride for miles on the tour bus with nothing but beauty passing us by. When we arrived at cities like Florence, Pisa, Siena, Luca and San Gimignano - we could see that a modern life had been built right on top of an ancient one. People going about their everyday, surrounded by Medieval buildings and ancient ruins. We walked all over these cities, learning their history, shopping with their artisans, and (logically) eating! We ate until we could eat no more - and then we ate again!
Finally - our group was amazing. I learned so much from the people who came on this tour with me. It was truly my pleasure to be in their company. I feel that I've made many new friends, and I hope they feel the same! I've created a Facebook group just for them so they can stay in touch with one another as well! Plus they'll be receiving ALL the recipes we learned about in the form of an e-book! That book will also be available for purchase here, OR you can subscribe on Youtube (youtube.com/carascucina hit the red SUBSCRIBE button) and watch cause I'll be dishing them out over the next few weeks! Along with blogs from each day of the trip! It'll be (almost) just like you were there! Don't forget to subscribe to my e-mail list as well (bottom of the homepage) so you'll be among the first to get details about next year's trip! It's already in the works!
Watch the video, then keep scrolling for the fresh pasta recipe from Florencetown Cooking School; where Chef Alain reminded us "It's only pasta!"
Pasta fatta a mano
Pasta made from scratch
3 C. 00 flour
3 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Place the flour in a pile on a marble or wooden surface. Use your hands to make a well in the middle of the flour.
Crack the eggs into the well. Add the olive oil and salt. Using a fork, gently whisk the eggs whilst gradually adding flour from the wall of the well.
When the mixture has a sticky consistency, begin to knead with your hands. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding a sprinkle of flour to the work surface as needed to ensure your dough doesn't stick.
Once your dough is smooth, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Cut your dough into 3 even pieces with a sharp knife. Take one piece, and make it circular by hand. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and using a rolling pin, roll your dough as thin as possible, and circular in shape.
Fold your dough over itself into thirds. Using a sharp knife, cut along the short end - .5cm for Linguine, 1cm for Fettucine, 1.5cm for Tagliatelle or 2cm for Pappardelle. Unfold the pieces and lay them on a floured sheet pan to make sure they don't stick together.
Repeat the process for the other two balls of dough. Then boil your pasta in salted water for 2-3 minutes (until it floats) until cooked al dente', and serve with your preferred sauce.