One evening each week the language school offers the opportunity to attend a cooking class taught by a chef in her home which is a large restored farmhouse. The farmhouse is located in the Bologna foothills in the medieval hamlet of Ca’ Bianca, about 35-40 minutes outside the historic center.
Normally the class is a minimum of 4 but this particular evening there were only two of us; Tytti (pronounced “twotea”) from Finland and myself. The class is taught by Chef Elisabetta who speaks very little English so we had a great opportunity to practice our Italian.
At the farmhouse the scenery was wonderful. Not to mention there were 5 (yes 5!) dogs and I was in doggie heaven. Also there was Flamina’s 93 year-old mother who speaks not a word of English.
Elisabetta picked Tytti and I up at the school and drove us out to her property around 2:30 p.m.; afterwards she drove us right to our individual doors at about 8:30 p.m. It was quite the afternoon.
After dicing up the red onion, celery and carrots they are sauted in olive oil (a lot of olive oil I might add).
While sauteing the veggies, the pancetta and ground pork are cut up and cooked in milk (yes milk). This is an old family recipe we are told.
Then of course, we needed to add even more olive oil to the veggies because a couple of cups wasn’t enough (I could hear my arteries clog as we went along). Once the meat was done, the two were combined along with tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. While all of this simmered away for 3 hours we moved on to making the pasta from scratch.
The pasta is then rolled into forths and cut into strip and then flung apart! After we finished the pasta it was on to making the traditional rice cake of the region. Which, because we were stuffed, we took home.
All in all a great way to spend the afternoon and early evening–cooking, drinking great wine, talking Italian and watching the sunset over the beautiful Bologna hills.