Cooking Class by Madi Rast

Since spending a month in Spoleto, Italy, there is always something fun to do. One of the best days so far though was spent at a cooking class. It wasn’t at some large fancy establishment, but at a small locally owned restaurant. My instructor, Professor Lott, always takes his students to the same place each program to meet and cook with Chef Andrea Leonelli.

His restaurant is off a small dirt road, and it surrounded by the countryside and mountains in the distance. When we first pulled up, he greeted us with the friendliest smile and welcomed us to his home. After offering us coffee, something that is commonly offered in Italy, we quickly got to work in the kitchen.

The first thing Chef Andrea showed us how to do was to cut up the vegetables. He let a few students work on that while he pulled out two whole Guineas, that he said were killed just the day before. I am still not sure if that was a joke or not. Anyways, he gave me the butchers knife and showed me exactly where to cut. I had to put all my weight behind those chops since I was not used to butchering an entire animal. There was blood and guts everywhere, so once I finished I quickly washed my hands and contemplated becoming a vegetarian.

After all the work was done with the Guineas, we started working on Italy’s staple dish: pasta. We made two types of pastas, cannelloni and ravioli. The pasta was made with an egg and flour mixture, thoroughly kneaded, then put through a pasta stretcher. The ravioli was cut into squares and filled with a ricotta and spinach mixture that we made earlier. The cannelloni were filled with a mashed potato mixture and then baked on a sheet covered in Bolognese sauce.

Once all the food was cooked and ready, we all sat down at a large table outside overlooking the property. As we were eating the all the delicious foods we made, we heard tiny barks in the distance. Chef Andrea told us that his dog just had puppies, and once we finished eating, he let the puppies out for us to play with. It was the perfect way to wrap up the day, eating amazing food that we cooked ourselves and playing with adorable puppies under the hot Italian sun.

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