Thursday, August 29, 2013

Costa Rica Trip ~ Italian Cooking Class

My sister takes cooking classes in Costa Rica so she invited me to go along to one. I am a great cook but I am always open to learning more. The class was an Italian cooking class and we were going to make fresh pasta, so I was excited.

I really enjoyed the cooking class. Now there were a few hiccups though. We were supposed to start at 5:30pm but two of the students were late. There were only 6 of us in the class and 4 of the students knew each other or had taken a class together. That caused some issues. Because they knew each other there were a lot of shenanigans going on. These shenanigans made the class go on for 2 hours more than it should have.

We ended up eating after 9:30 pm which is really late for me and my sister. Plus, it was tiring. But the good food made up for the length of the class.

Our teacher, Marina, is from Italy and she happens to live in Costa Rica. She gives classes I suppose to make a little money and because of her love of cooking. I totally understand that. I know if I ever move to Costa Rica, I will give classes in making good American classics like burger, fries, meatloaf, roast turkey etc. That would be fun!

Marina gave us some great tips but since I know how to cook, I knew a lot of what she talked about. But I did learn how to make fresh pasta and panna cotta. The class was well worth to learn how to make fresh pasta.

Our class started with a recipe for panna cotta. I had never made panna cotta but it turned out to be quite easy. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I have the recipe but it is in Spanish so I won't write it in the post. I have to go back and translate it before I even attempt to make it. But basically it was heating up cream and milk and vanilla and gelatin sheets. Then you have to put it in ramekin into the fridge to set and cool down. We also made a fresh berry sauce with yogurt and sugar.

The next recipe was finally making the dough for the pasta. Again, the recipe was so easy. We used regular flour, semolina flour, eggs and water. You mix it all up and then knead it to get the right consistency. Then you roll it out a little and then run it through the pasta machine. I felt it was one of the easiest recipes you can ever make. But you definitely need a pasta machine. I can't imagine rolling the dough out by hand and then continue doing it by hand.

Luckily, the pasta machine made it so much easier. We ran the dough through a few times and once it was the right width. Then we ran it through again to cut into strips. Once cut, we hung it to dry. Some of the other pasta was saved to make ravioli.

In the meantime, we made fresh tomato sauce. I make this all the time so it was easy. Marina also grilled some eggplant. We stuffed the eggplant with ricotta and other things. The rest of the eggplant was marinated in a balsamic vinegar sauce. We made potato and broccoli stuffing for the ravioli.

Once the stuffing was made, we made ravioli by putting dollops of the stuffing on the pasta and then either folding over the dough or adding a top sheet and squeezing it together. It was fun. Then we cooked up the pasta. We also made a simple butter and sage sauce for the pasta. We served the ravioli with the tomato sauce.

All the food was delicious. There is NOTHING like fresh pasta. The ravioli were tasty but I think i would have used a different filling. The eggplant was delicious. I definitely need to make this recipe again. I never thought of stuffing eggplant and they made a nice little appetizer. Yummy.

The panna cotta was delicious as well. It was not too sweet and the fresh berry sauce was the bomb. Our teacher, Marina, was so nice and she was patient and knew what she was doing. I liked that. We had some good wine and, even though the evening was wicked long, it was a great experience.


  1. That panna cotta looks good.... I never knew what that was until now. I haven't had fresh pasta either.... no comparison to the boxed kind you get in stores, huh? :)

  2. I have never had fresh pasta..I bet it is delicious!Stuffed eggplant sounds really good too