I'm taking lessons at the Culinary Institute of Florence twice a week: On Mondays, a course on regional Italian cuisine, and on Wednesday afternoons I have a winetasting course with an emphasis on wine culture and enological and viticultural techniques.
In my cooking class, his week was, appropriately, Tuscan food.
My teacher is a little old Italian woman named Vittoria who smokes like a—well, like a little old Italian woman (which is to say, quite a lot). She is always vaguely distracted, and gives directions like, “It needs more salt.”
“How much more?”
“You know, a little more, but not a lot more.”
And then there was the, “Pour a glass of wine in when they seem pretty happy,” episode.
“Vittoria, how much is a glass? Like, 3 ounces? 5?”
“Just a glass, you know, a glass glass.”
Our menu for the day:
- Ravioli di Ricotta e Spinachi
- Calamari in Zimino (with spinach, tomato, onions, and peppers)
- and a Torta Pinolata (Pinenut Cake).
Sorry, no recipes. These are my Italian secrets and you’ll just have to come over to taste them. If you like it, then I might reveal a little…but don’t hold your breath. (Besides, holding your breath you would miss the AMAZING scent of the calamari braising noisily in the tomato sauce.)
And the best part is, there is almost no one else in the class. There were two other students, both a little older than me, who were only in Florence temporarily on vacation. Agatha is from Poland, backpacking through Italy, and Elena, from Seattle, is visiting Europe with her husband. So neither returned the next week.
Actually, the best part is that we get to eat everything at the end of class.