On our last trip to Rome my husband planned and scheduled us a day of cooking school in Rome Italy with the well known Chef Fabio Bongianni (read more about Chef Fabio) . Really sounds exciting right? Honestly, strangely enough, I was not to thrilled at first. I mean of course I wanted to meet Chef Fabio (no girls he is not the Fabio with the long hair that adorned Romance novel covers) he is an amazing chef. But… I can cook, I swear, but I don’t. In any case, Kevin does all the cooking. It’s not that I can’t, it is just that I have a husband who loves to cook and took over the kitchen several years ago. Seriously, tell me what women would not allow this to happen too? However, I’m the baker in the family, at least I have that going for me. So when he wanted to go to a day of cooking school in Rome Italy I felt a little out of my element. But at least it was Italian food, that I know! I was definitely up to learning to make pasta the authentic Italian way.
Cooking School: To the market we shall go
Our day started by us meeting Chef Fabio Bongianni at his restaurant That’s Amore in Rome. Chef introduced us to several people there as well as a couple from Texas, Christine and Scott Walker who would ultimately be cooking with us too. Soon after introductions we headed to a local market to purchase the fresh food we would be cooking. I love going to the Italian markets, it so reminds me of the market in Rochester New York that my Grandfather used to take me to. Listening to the language of Italian even as they bargain and haggle, still manages to sound like beautiful music. At this point, Chef Fabio Bongianni asked us each what our favorite was…not a second was wasted on me saying “carciofo” (artichoke), love them! Arguably, you never had a really good artichoke until you had it cooked in Italy.
Next we were off to the bakery to buy fresh Italian bread. When you think you have good bread in the states and there are good ones, once you have bread in Italy you learn on how it really is to be made. The smell in the bakery was so heavenly, I could of lived on bread and wine alone. Dragging ourselves out of the bakery we headed across the streets, through a few piazza’s, past a dozen fountains, to our destination.
Time for school or time out?
As we approached a courtyard with it’s own fountains we headed up. This was a bit of a surprise, we were going to be cooking in a home not an actual school. This made it seem so more personable and relaxing. Instruction began right away from Chef Fabio. I can not remember everything he taught us, but learning to make homemade pasta was the most fun. It was easier than I thought it would be, or at least Chef Fabio made it seem easy. On the other hand, not for some of us.
The funniest part was Christine learning to make pasta, or at least giving it her best. I am not sure what she was doing but her’s was a complete, well lets say wet mess. The dough was stuck to her hands like paste. Chef Fabio warned us about this happening. At this point, he simply went over to Christine, grabbed her hands and placed them in a bag of flour. He then instructed her to not move and keep her hands there for 5 minutes. We all couldn’t help from laughing at her expression and especially when her husband Scott said “haha you just got put in Chef Time Out”. Lesson one- learning to make pasta? Your dough too sticky? Put your hands in flour for five minutes and voilà (yes I am injecting a little French here) magic happens.
Here’s what we made!
All things considered, the rest of the cooking went pretty smooth. No more “time outs” occurred thankfully. As a matter of fact, in a just a few hours we made the following at our cooking school in Rome Italy:
- Tomato sauce
- Handmade pasta dough
- Cavatappi w/ broc finished with butter and grated parmigiano reggiano
- Spinach & zucchini ravioli with tomato sauce and basil
- Carciofi (artichoke) ala romana
- Spinach & zucchini tortilini
- Baked eggplant with tomato and basil
- Bruschetta w/ fresh tomato and basil
- Strawberries w/ balsamic
Time to Eat and enjoy some good wine too
No doubt, attending cooking school in Rome with Chef Fabio Bongianni was a great experience and I would do it again in a heart beat. Therefore, if you ever are in Rome look into taking his class, you won’t regret it! In my opinion, one of the best parts was making friends with Christine and Scott. For this reason, we end up spending the entire day with them roaming the streets of Rome. One day hopefully we will meet up with them again on another adventure!
Furthermore, if you would like to read more on our experiences in Rome Italy click on my post Our First Experience in Rome too!