Tonight, I attended Giglio Cooking School in Florence. If you know me, you know that I am a fan of cooking and baking. I’m better at baking than cooking but the fact that I distinguish between the two says something in and of itself.
Tonight, I learned a thing or two about the art of cooking and about myself. In short, I’d like to be like Marcella. I asked her how long the cooking school had been open and her response was something along the lines of, “the cooking school-6 years, teaching for 10, and cooking for 50. I was born in a restaurant.” Marcella was the sweetest, spunkiest, most straight-forward, patient person as she worked with our group of 14 to prepare a delectable meal.
We began by making the pasta for the ravioli. After combining our flour, salt, and egg, we wrapped them and left them to rest. We moved on to a myriad of tasks in preparation for the main dish, ravioli stuffing, and dessert. I got to chop chocolate shavings, melt it in a pan of butter, at which point I handed it off to be mixed with some eggs and such before being placed in a pan and into the oven. Operation cake bake was ago. From there, I can’t say that I focused on any one specific aspect of the cooking, but rather jumped from place to place being useful where hands were needed. I cooked spinach, cut apricots, sliced pork, stuck toothpicks in pork rolled with dried apricots and pancetta, grated parmesan, and crushed strawberries. Once the meat was cooking and the ravioli stuffing was made, we returned to our resting dough and went to work. Pasta machines are the coolest things ever and we took turns rolling the dough through the machine to make it thin enough to put a spoonful of stuffing on and fold it, press out the air, and cut it. Then the ravioli boiled for a few minutes, sort of sautéed in a butter and herb sauce and placed in a dish to serve. It was at this point that we were directed to sit down and eat. Buon appetito!
We started with the ravioli ricotta e spinaci (spinach and ricotta ravioli), followed by involtini di maiale alle albicocche (pork rolls with apricot), and finished off with dolce morbido al cioccolato (chocolate dessert). Oh my. It was a feast. Despite a slight confusion with the fizzy water versus natural, this meal might be the best one that I have had so far, and will arguably be hard to beat. In the words of Julia Child, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously with it.” I dare say this is a passion I will continue to pursue tremendously.