Culinary Reflection

When I first received this opportunity to come to Italy to study aboard one of the first things that crossed my mind was getting to experience the different culture, but specifically the food. I am a foodie; I am always watching the cooking channel, in the kitchen with my mom making dinner, or just preparing some dessert for my friends to come over. I am the cook that never likes to use box mix to make something. When I found out we were going to be making pasta from scratch, I was so excited. The women who were teaching us how to make the pasta were so sweet and so passionate in what they were doing. You could tell they really loved it, and I hope some day I am that way about my job too.

For me, the pasta making was a stress reliever for the week. Usually whenever I get stressed out I go and bake some bread or a cake, so a nice treat for the middle of the week. To make the pasta, we started out with one cup of flour and then made it into a volcano, then whisked an egg in it combining it with the flour. We added a pinch of salt and then whisked until it turned into a dough. We kneaded the dough until it was a good consistency, not too wet or too dry, and then we rolled it out with a rolling pin. We made two different pastas with this dough, regular noodles and stuffed ravioli. For the gnocchi pasta, the owner made the dough which consisted of mashed up potatoes and flour. Then we all rolled the dough out like a snake and cut it in to little pieces. The best part about cooking is to you get to each whatever you make. Each pasta was every good. The regular noodles had a red sauce on them with some ground up duck. The duck make the dish a little more rich but it complimented the acidity of the tomato red sauce. The ravioli was stuffed with spinach and ricotta and prepared in a buttery, creamy sauce. This was my favorite out of the three pastas. The buttery sauces went well with the spinach and ricotta cheese inside. The gnocchi was had a red sauce like the first pasta, but this one was lighter because it did not have the duck with it. The texture of the gnocchi was light and fluffy because of the potato in it. All the pastas were very good and you could tell by the texture and the taste of each of them that they were homemade.

I loved experiencing this with the class and seeing how each person did something a little different in the way they prepared their pasta. The restaurant with the wood tables and the wooden beams on the ceiling was the perfect Italian atmosphere to cook in. The Italian mother and daughter teaching us were so sweet and loved sharing what they know. Even though the mother did not speak any English, I could tell by the way she was eager to help us and always smiling that she loves what she does and loves sharing it with others. I am so glad I was able to experience this in Italy and now I’m going to take it back to the States and make some homemade pasta with my family!

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