Italian Cooking Class

by Anne Bennett on June 25, 2017

We took a cooking class in Lucca Italy on Friday. Giuseppe, our genial Italian instructor who spoke excellent English, took us shopping at local markets for focaccia and vegetables, including baby zucchini with blossoms attached.

Back at his apartment Giuseppe had us sample three different Italian extra virgin olive oils, and each one was different. He said that the Toscano oil from Tuscany is bottled under the Kirkland brand and sold at  Costco stores in the U.S. Look for it when you’re next at Costco — we may not enjoy the same freshness as they do here in Italy, but it will be terrific nonetheless.

We made something I’ve never had before — stuffed and deep-fried zucchini blossoms. They were a delicious revelation, slightly crispy on the outside and creamy/cheesy on the inside. I imagined them to be healthy, as zucchini is a vegetable. Please, don’t confuse me with the facts.

We also made pesto and fresh pasta. Giuseppe recommends blanching the basil leaves for just a moment in boiling water and then placing them into ice water. It helps the pesto maintain its bright green color.

And for dessert?  Lemon vanilla custard with fresh fruit. Portions are smaller in Italy than in the U.S., so I didn’t feel overly stuffed when we left at about 3:00 pm.

It was a delightful experience. We each took home a special apron, a little book of recipes and unforgettable memories. Italians are a gracious, humble and delightful people.

 

 

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