An authentic Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, olive oil, and white wine.
I had never experienced food for the soul, until I had my first taste of Italy. Walking into Italian Chef Andrea Consoli’s cooking class, I was not prepared for the delicious, educational and eye-opening experience I was yet to have. Chef Andrea’s kitchen is nestled in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. The walls are full of gratitude and photos of previous cooking class participants. A table seating twenty five sous chefs stretches across the room, ending at the petite kitchen containing everything need to submerge oneself into the Roman cuisine.
Class began with Chef Andrea’s humor and emphasis on the importance of authentic Italian dishes. We realized if we came to the class with intentions of making spaghetti with meatballs, we should find the nearest exit. Italian food is simplistic, indulgent with natural and minimal ingredients. The ingredients for the four course meal were purchased from local markets earlier that day, supporting the Italian tradition of home grown and fresh produce.
Italian cuisine follows the mediterranean pattern of ingredients; tomatoes, garlic, leafy greens and olive oil. These fresh ingredients come together to create the healthy Italian diet that Americans have gotten wrong.
Chef Andrea explained the basics of the meal we were preparing, containing Roman style artichokes, spaghetti alla chitarra carbonara, gnocchi with tomato and basil, and traditional tiramisu for dolce.
His light hearted teasing kept us in line as we were bumping around doing our best to follow his instructions in the kitchen. Collaboratively working with my classmates in the kitchen was a bonding experience with the bonus of a delicious meal.
As we were making the pasta (from scratch of course), I was scolded for not kneading the dough to Chef Andrea’s satisfaction, potentially causing it to dry out. The dough is made of two ingredients, all purpose flour and eggs. Chef Andrea had prepared the dough earlier in the day to give it time for the gluten to set in, keeping it together and avoiding the infamous pasta breakage. As we manually rolled out the dough into thin sheets of pasta, I admired the simplistic ways of italian cooking and the reaping benefits.
The room was brimming of chatter and laughter as we sat shoulders touching, eating all of our delectable efforts. Just knowing the food was healthy and full of fresh ingredients made us savor each bite more. Chef Andrea made his kitchen feel like our own and taught the Italian culture of cooking in such an admirable way, that my macchina per pasta fresca was ordered on Amazon Prime before I could thank him for his sagacity.