Visiting Florence is always a treat, but I got a special one on a recent trip: a pasta-making lesson, arranged by Active Gourmet Holidays, at Florence Home Cooking. The instructor teaches traditional Italian cuisine to both natives and tourists, and I reaped the benefits of her expertise one morning in her bright home kitchen.
While my kids explored the wonders of the Medici, I explored those of semolina, eggs and salt, mixing and kneading my way to tagliolini glory and ravioli joy. Those Medici may have had thrones and jewels; I had garden zucchini and smoky scamorza, home-made ricotta and parmigiana-reggiano from straight up the autostrada.
For three compelling hours, we sautéed our vegetables, mixed our fillings, rolled our involtini and then finished our pasta, the only nod to modernity the Kitchen Aid’s stretching attachment, squeezing out – to my delight – lengths of dough like a magician’s stream of scarves. And then the final delight: admiring and sampling our labor, the teacher’s husband stopping in to join us along with another Italian wonder: a vibrant Chianti.