Last week we had our second cooking class at In Tavola, which is a fabulous cooking school. If you’re coming to Florence and want to do cooking classes, you should check out their website. We made a 3 course meal, and then at the end we got to eat everything we cooked. They gave us a little recipe booklet, but I don’t want to carry around little pieces of paper, so I’m transcribing it here so you can try it out at home and I can have it again later, too.
- Artichoke soufflè (starter)
- Fresh egg pasta (used for the ravioli)
- Spinach and Ricotta Filled Ravioli (main dish)
- Panna Cotta (dessert)
- 300 g. artichoke hearts, sliced (see note)
- 20 g butter
- 3 eggs
- 25 g grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 dl thick bechamel sauce (see below)
Note: We used small, fresh artichokes. Cut off the top third of the artichoke. Pull off the outside leaves until you get to the heart. Peel the stem. Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. Cut out the choke (the little fuzzy part that you would throw away if you were eating the artichoke cooked).
Prepare the bechamel sauce (see below.) Boil the artichokes for 7 minutes (see note above). Drain and toss with the butter. Grind the buttered artichoke hearts in a mortar with a pestle, then pass through a sieve, or puree in a blender. (We used an immersion blender, with a little of the bechamel sauce in with it.) Combine the artichoke paste, bechamel, cheese and eggs. Puree until smooth. Put the mixture int a greased and floured pan (or ramekins) and cook in a water bath in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, approximately 15-20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before reoming from pan to a plate and serving.
- 60 g butter
- 60 g flour type 00, sifted (all purpose flour should be fine)
- 1 litre milk
- nutmeg to taste
- salt to taste
PROCEDURE: Melt the butter, whisk in the sifted flour little by little. Add the nutmeg and continue cooking and stirring for one minute to thicken. Put the milk in a separate saucepan and add a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Slowly, add the milk to the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook sauce for at least 5 minutes over low flame, stirring occasionally.
Fresh Egg Pasta
- 2 eggs
- 50 g flour of durum wheat
- 150 g flour type 00
- salt to taste
PROCEDURE: Put the flour in a mound on a large wooden pastry board, making a large well in the center of the mound. Break the eggs into the hole, add a generous pinch of salt. Beat the eggs, then slowly begin incorporating the flour from the inside perimeter of the well into the mixture with a fork. Knead well until smooth and elastic. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
Cut dough ball into 2 equal parts. Working with one half at a time, slightly flour, roll with a rolling pin. Fold into thirds and roll again. Using a pasta machine, run the dough through the machine at settings 1, 3, and 5. Fold into thirds again and roll with pin to width of the machine. Repeat until pasta is desired consistency. For ravioli finish on setting 6.
Spinch & Ricotta Filled Ravioli
- 250 g spinach
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 60 g grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- ground nutmeg to taste
PROCEDURE: Clean the spinach, boil and let cool; squeeze well to remove the liquid and mince finely. Strain the ricotta through a sieve then put into a bowl; add the spinach, cheese egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Put the spinach mixture into a pastry bag (or a plastic bag and cut a hole to dispense the mixture.) Roll out the pasta dough into one thin strip, about 5 inches wide. Using the pastry bag, place a dollop (about 1 T.) of filling in the center of the strip. Place another dollop about 3 inches from the first one. Keep working your way down. Leave 2 finger widths of pasta at each end. Gently fold the long strip in half. Using the blunt side of a round cookie cutter, press down gently around each dab of spinach mixture. Use your fingers to press out any air bubbles and seal the pasta together. Using a pronged pasta cutter, cut between the dollops to create individual raviolis. Gently flour the tops. Use a spatula to lift the raviolis onto a floured cardboard tray, taking care not to overlap them or they will stick together.
Place in boiling, salted water and cook for 5-7 minutes. While they are cooking, melt some butter and olive oil together. Scoop the raviolis into the butter and slide around the pan to coat. Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and serve.
- 6 g gelatin
- 40 ml of whole milk
- 200 ml of whipping cream
- 40 g of sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
Whisk together the cream, vanilla, and sugar. Put the sheets of gelatin in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot, but do not boil. Wring out the gelatin and put it into the warm milk; stir until the gelatin melts. In a saucepan, warm the cream mixture over low heat stirring constantly until just oiling; remove from the heat; add the milk/gelatin to the cream and stir to mix well.
Run individual serving cups or ramekins under cold water. Shake out excess water but do not dry cups. Fill each cup with the panna cotta until full, being sure the tops are level; refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Turn each panna cotta out onto dessert plates. Top with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or fruit sauce as desired.
Thanks to our expert guides and the elves in the kitchen, everything turned out beautifully. We had a great time, too. It’s always so much more fun to cook with others than to cook alone. If you decide to try these out, invite a friend.