As I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, I happily accepted the invitation to join a pasta making class in Rome with a professional chef. The idea of spending an evening enjoying a homemade meal on the terrace of an apartment in the historic center is not one I could easily turn down.
I’ve made fresh pasta (tagliolini, tortellini, orecchiette, and pici) from scratch before and while I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new, I was looking forward to getting a few tips and insights from a professional chef. So imagine my surprise (and excitement) when I found out that we were making a pasta I have never seen before.
While it’s also called pici, it’s not the Tuscan one that most are familiar with, but rather the type that is commonly found between the borders of Umbria and Le Marche. The basic ingredients are the same, water and flour, but the twisted shape of this particular pici is what makes it different.
Together with a wonderful family from Canada, we started the evening with an aperitivo on a gorgeous terrace in the historic center. Our chef, David, was the most gracious and entertaining host and ensured we had more than our fair share of prosecco and delicious treats. You couldn’t ask for more lovely setting to unwind and after the chance to chat and chill, David was ready to put us to work.
It was time to get our hands dirty and first up, we had to make the dough by mixing the flour and water. It might sound easy but getting the right dough consistency where you’d have the correct water to flour ratio could be tricky.
When everyone, with the help of David, had their dough made we had a great excuse for another round of prosecco – the dough needed time to rest before the rolling and cutting began. And at this time, David also showed us how to prepare the sauce, all’amatriciana, using guanciale (cured pork cheeks), onions, and tomatoes. The smell was heavenly!
From there, the real work began. David showed us the steps to rolling, cutting and shaping the dough to what would then become pici, and we took it from there (with some help from David, of course!). We found ourselves forming a kind of a production line and everyone had a go at each step.
We had a great time, laughing and chatting, as we went about making pasta for 7 people and in no time – thankfully as everyone was starting to get hungry – we finished shaping all the dough we made.
David took care of cooking the pici by placing them in a huge pot of boiling water and since they were fresh, it only required a few minutes before they were done. After draining the pasta, he tossed them together with the sauce and dinner was served!
Sitting on the terrace on such a beautiful evening, we eagerly devoured the fruits of our labor and if you are wondering how good it tasted, one participant summed it up best – “It was the best pasta dish I’ve ever had and even better – I made it!”
The family who had spent the whole day sightseeing mentioned it was nice to get away from the crowds and spend a lovely evening with great company cooking up what was their most memorable dish of their trip!
My husband, who was hesitant about joining this cooking class, had a fabulous time and to my surprise, he was really into the whole process of rolling, cutting and shaping the pasta. As for myself, I was pleased with having learnt how to make another type of fresh pasta – and yes, I will be making this pasta at home!
To whet your appetite and to give you a taste of this pasta making class in Rome, check out the video below:
Huge thanks to Walks of Italy for extending the invitation to join their Cook, Dine and Drink Wine: Pasta-Making Class. If you are looking for a relaxing, unique and memorable evening in Rome, this is it!