We arrived at the tiny train station that lies on the borders of Tuscany and Umbria. Luckily, we made sure to book our train tickets to Chiusi Chianciano Terme the day we arrived in Italy so that we wouldn’t miss out on the Italian cooking class we had been eagerly anticipating for months.
As we exited the platform, it didn’t take long to find our host waiting near her Range Rover, ready to drive us to the estate. From the moment we climbed into Alina’s car, I was already salivating at the thought of all the fresh Tuscan food we were about to cook and devour.
Although I can’t share all of the recipes we made in this all-day workshop, one of the most unique things we learned how to do was make pasta from scratch (without a food processor).
3 oz (100 grams) of flour per person
1 egg per 100 grams of flour
1. Sift the flour (you can skip this step if you don’t have a sifter).
2. Make a mound or cone with the flour and flatten the inside of the mound to make a well. Break the eggs into this well.
3. Beat the eggs and the flour together with a fork, adding more flour gradually from around the egg mixture. Do this until you have smooth dough. You can add a few drops of water or white wine if necessary.
4. Once you have mixed the flour and egg as much as you can with the fork, start using your hands to knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes. The finished texture should be smooth, firm and very elastic. It will stick to your hands!
5. Place the dough on a plate or dish and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into two balls. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a strip as thin as you can make it. You will most likely need to add flour to the top and bottom of the dough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin and the bottom surface.
7. Once you have the desired thickness, roll the dough into one long strip (shown in image below on the left).
8. Cut 1/4″ pieces along the strip of dough (shown in image above on right).
9. Unroll each cut piece of dough so that you now have long thin strips of dough. Place them on a cutting board or flat surface, making sure the strands are well separated. Sprinkle flour over the top of the strands once they are laying flat.
10. Allow the strands to dry for 1-2 hours.
11. Cook for 3-5 minutes in plenty of salted, boiling water.
12. Drain the pasta and serve with your favorite sauce!
The hosts of this cooking class had us laughing and joking all day while learning recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation of Italians. That evening, we gorged ourselves on tagliatelle Mal Tagliate (egg pasta), raviolis, slow-cooked beef wrapped in prosciutto, apple strudel, vegetable rolls, fresh salad from the garden and hoards of delicious Italian wine.
The highlight of this experience (besides the food) was the opportunity to meet a group of warm and welcoming locals, while enjoying good conversation and learning a few new words in Italian.
If you want to have a true Italian pasta making experience, we highly recommend Il Fontanaro in Tuscany. You can find more information on Walks of Italy’s website.
Disclosure: Walks of Italy and Il Fontanaro hosted us for the day, but they did not require a review or insist that I eat pasta while writing this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.