It should come as no surprise that my go-to food is Italian. I joke that I could live on pasta and seafood the way it’s prepared in Italy. Of course, the best seafood is on the coast, so when we decided to vacation in Tuscany, my thoughts turned to wine, cheese and truffles. The winery where we stayed offered many of the excursions we added on to our stay, but when I learned there was a cooking class option, I drooled with excitement!
The morning of the class, we rendezvoused with Dante and another couple to learn the secrets of a classic Italian meal. Step one … the pasta!
Dante measured out the ingredients and walked us through making a single serving of pasta! I was THRILLED!! I’ve made pasta before, but my recipe makes pasta for a small army. This single serving size was perfect.
In fact, a week after we returned home, we measured out the ingredients and taught the same simple technique to our three grandkids, ages 13, 11 and 5!
To coat the pasta, Dante cooked up some incredibly fresh Italian sausage with a chopped zucchini then described how the sausage was getting hot and needed a little wine. He poured in some white wine and tossed on a few truffle slices. The whole sauce cooked down for maybe five minutes.
Once the pasta and sauce were done, Dante pulled four HUGE pork chops out of the fridge and asked Greg to dredge them in flour while a pan with a thin coating of olive oil heated up. From there, the chops were seared as Dante pointed out how the chops also get to the point where they want a little wine … he poured in some RED! Red wine? In pork chops? YEP!
The chops simmered for a few minutes while Dante pointed out that each of the dishes we made included less than four ingredients. He regaled us with the stories of his grandmother teaching him to cook and how the simple, minimal dishes are the heart and soul of any good Italian kitchen.
After our class, we went on a truffle hunt while our lunch was kept warm so we could enjoy it on our return. Enjoy it – we did! We even shared some of our pork chops with new friends we met at the winery.
I’m so grateful for being able to travel and experience these fun places and filled with joy at learning new things along the way.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Cooking with fresh local ingredients is a great way to fuel up for your adventures.