Here's your friend and Chef Andrea writing you about all the recipes we cooked on Monday the 19th of May during your cooking class. Have fun reading this email and enjoy preparing the recipes that we cooked together!

All the ingredients are listed by weight as well as by volume to make you all able to reproduce my food back home, but always keep in mind that measures by weight (especially for flour) are more accurate. Measuring flour by cup sometimes requires to sift it, as it might be more dense than the one we used - in Italy we use a 00 flour.

1. Appetizer: 
Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmigiana di Melanzane)

Ingredients (serving 4 people):
- 4 large seedless 
eggplant, cut into 1 cm / 0,4 Inch slices
- 1 lt / 4 cup sunflower oil to deep-fry
- 1kg / 2,2 Lb tomato skinned-chopped (the best quality are the fresh tomatoes like the one on the vine, or even San Marzano. The closest type that you can get back home could be the Roma tomatoes)
- 5 tablespoon of E.V. olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- few leaves fresh organic basil
- 1 bowl medium size fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded or in chunks (I'd suggest normal mozzarella and not the buffalo one because it's drier and it will not release too much liquid/milk to the 
Parmigiana while baking in the oven)
- 100 gr/ 1cup grated 
Parmesan cheese

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute garlic with extra virgin olive oil (remember to leave the skin on and do not burn the oil, just wait for garlic to get brown). Than add chopped tomatoes previously blanched and peeled, and allow them to cook and saute. After the tomatoes have cooked down for about 10 minutes, they'll look softer and release some water, add salt. You are able to blend the sauce for your own personal touch, if you like it smoother. Or if you like chunks of tomatoes in the 
Parmigiana, just leave it the way it is after cooking. In the end add freshly chopped basil leaves.
In the meantime place the 
eggplant sliced into circle in a colander and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Let drain for 1 hour (we skipped this in the class, because the eggplant I got for you at the market were seedless). Heat up the oil in a deep large frying pan until very hot. Shake the salt off the eggplant, dry them out onto paper towel and fry small batches until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per batch. Drain onto paper towels. Add salt.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a medium baking dish. Spread a layer of 
eggplant in baking dish, topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, few leaves of fresh organic basil and top it with parmesan cheese. Repeat eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan layers. Bake the tray of eggplant until hot and bubbly for about 15 minutes. Serve covered inParmesan cheese and decorated with a leaf of fresh basil. Can be served hot or warm.


Wine Pairing: Prosecco - it's a 100% Chardonnay grapes, grown on a sandy loam and it?s early harvested in the norther region of Veneto, in order to preserve both the acidity and the character of the varietal. Excellent to be served as an aperitif - from the local Winery Ca'Sisa - Treviso (Veneto region) - ed. 2011



2. First course: Homemade Cavatelli shaped pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil leaves (Cavatelli fatti a mano con sugo di pomodoro fresco e basilico)

Ingredients for the dough (serving 4 people):
- 500 gr / 4 cup of semolina flour (hard durum wheat)
- 250 ml / 1 cup lukewarm water
- 4 pinch salt

Ingredients for the sauce (serving 4 people):
- 5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1Kg / 2,2 lb fresh and organic San Marzano or Tomatoes on the vine (back home you are able to use Roma tomatoes too)
- few leaves of fresh organic Basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 100gr / 1 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (to coat your dish)

Instructions for the fresh pasta:
Cavatelli pasta (also known as Gnocchetti Sardi or Malloreddus) are made with a hard durum wheat (semolina) flour and water (no eggs) which gives them a distinctive golden yellow color (if you want to increase the yellow color just add a few pinches of saffron to it). It?s not a difficult recipe, but you may want to have some helpers if you have large numbers of gnocchetti to make!
To get ready with the dough, make a ring with the flour on a flat surface, marble or board and pour some of the water into the middle. Add salt and draw the flour towards the middle using your finger tips. Keep doing this until you have incorporated most of the water and flour into a sticky dough. Knead it lightly, adjusting water and flour until the dough is relatively smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 15/20 mins.
Once chilled, divide the dough into quarters or more for ease of rolling. Roll these out using your fingers into long ropes of dough about 1cm/0,4 inch thick. Cut each rope into thin "pillows" and then press each pasta piece against the wood paddle or tines of a fork with your thumb, pulling down as you press and leaving a small dent inside. This should add the characteristic grooves to the pasta. Patience, practice and helpers will win out here!
Either cook straight away, or dust with semolina flour to prevent them sticking while you prepare the sauce. Once in a pan of salted boiling water, they will float to the surface when nearly done, needing no more than 4-5 mins to be "al dente".

Instructions for the sauce:
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute garlic with extra virgin olive oil (remember to leave the skin on and do not burn the oil, just wait for garlic to get brown). Than add chopped tomatoes previously blanched and peeled, and allow them to cook and saute. After the tomatoes have cooked down for about 10 minutes, they'll look softer and release some water, add salt. You are able to add your own personal touch to the sauce with some chili flakes (but not too much) or fresh ricotta chuncks in with the tomatoes. In the end add freshly chopped basil leaves.
To cook the pasta put a large pot of boiling water over high heat. When the water is boiling, toss in a couple of tablespoon of salt with the pasta. Stir to keep it from sticking and cook for 5/6 minutes until a piece of pasta tastes cooked (if the pasta if freshly made, just cook it for couple of minutes will be enough otherwise it will result too soft and mushy). Anyway once their ready they will float to the surface of your pot.
When the 
Cavatelli pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the frying pan with tomatoes. Drizzle with cheese to coat the pasta. Season your dish with pepper if you like and garnish with some fresh basil leaves, and serve hot. It will be delicious!!!


Wine Pairing: Frascati Superiore DOC - it comes from the Frascati DOC zone of the Municipality of Rome and it?s produced with 50% Malvasia di Candia, 30% Malvasia del Lazio and 20% Trebbiano. Has a delicate nose with moderate fruit and blossom. The palate is dry, fresh, elegant and appealing. It is produced by the local Winery Principe Pallavicini - Colonna (Lazio region) - ed. 2011


3. Second Course: Pollo con i Peperoni alla Romana - Roasted Chicken with peppers in roman style 


Ingredients (serving 4 people):

- 1 whole chicken

- 2 clove garlic

- 3 peppers (the more variety and color the better your dish will look)

- few bay leaves

- salt

- extra virgin olive oil


Rinse the chicken under cold running water and dry with paper towels. Cut into 8-12 pieces to make it like small pieces (like the one I brought with me in class). Actually this is something you can ask the butcher to do for you!

In a large sauce pan you have to saute garlic (remember to keep the skin on, as it contains all the nutrients as anti oxidant) into E.V. olive oil until brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and then simmer the chicken over slightly higher heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning frequently. Pour in bay leaves to season. Add the diced peppers (the more variety and color of peppers the better your dish will look) and season with salt and pepper. 

Cook in the oven at 350°F / 180°C for about 20-30 minutes, stirring at intervals, until the chicken is tender and cooked all the ay trough. If you don't want to use the oven, then use a non sticky frying pan and cover it with a lid while cooking under low heat. Serve very hot.

Wine Pairing: Cesanese di Olevano Romano - it's a 100% Cesanese grapes grown in and around the area of Olevano Romano located east of Rome, in the foothills of the central Apennines. To the nose is a wine with a complex perfume - gracefully flowery, reveals a strong aroma, cherry and other red berry fruits, forest fruits and spices. To the palate is a wine with a concentrated and rich flavor - with sweet and thick tannins, lasting and lingering aftertaste. It is produced from the family Winery Azienda Agricola Proietti - Olevano Romano (Lazio region) - ed. 2010

4. Side dish: Roasted Potatoes with rosemary (patate al forno)

Ingredients (serving 4 people):

- 6 potatoes - medium size

- 2 clove garlic

- 2 stalk fresh rosemary

- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 more for the tray

- salt


All you have to is to peel and slice potatoes into wedges, and let them sit in a bowl with water otherwise they will turn brown very quickly. Adjust all the potatoes wedges on a non sticky tray, making sure they will not overlap. Drizzle with abundant extra virgin olive oil, smashed cloves of garlic (remember to keep the skin on as it contains all the nutrients), salt and rosemary and cook at 350°F/180°C for about 45 minutes (the cooking time depends on the size of potatoes, the bigger they are the longer it will take you).


5. Dessert: Tiramisł alle Fragole (Strawberry Tiramisł)
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoon of sugar
- 250gr mascarpone cheese
- ladyfingers or savoiardi biscuits
- 2 cups/ 200gr blended strawberries
Blend strawberries to dip your lady fingers in and set aside (remember to add water so they won't be too thick and enough smooth to dip lady fingers into it). To make the cream mixture you have to separate 4 eggs yolk from the whites, and use an electric whisk to whip 4 eggs whites with 2 spoons of sugar until stiff but not dry. Then into another bowl you have to beat the 4 yolks and 2 other spoons of sugar until very thick and light in color. With a wooden spoon or a spatula stir in 250gr of mascarpone cheese (it's an imported product in the States, so I'm using the Italian measurement so you will know how much to get!) until smooth. As soon as both of the creams are ready, you have to mix them from the bottom to the top with a this way your egg whites will keep their consistency.
To assemble, dip half of the ladyfingers, one at a time, in the strawberry mixture (which is made from blended strawberries and lukewarm water) and line a long flat serving dish with them (if you want you can use a Martini cup for a nicer presentation of your dish). Add some slices of straweberrys for a a better texture and presentation of the dish, and then spoon a layer of the cream mixture over these. Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers and some strawberry slices, then spoon the remaining cream over the top. Cover the whole thing with a layer of blended strawberries with a little sugar added, then let it reduce over low heat and it will become caramelized, and leave it chilling in the fridge for min. 2 hrs before serving.

Wine Pairing: Moscato - it's 100% Malvasia del Lazio gleaming golden yellow grapes, that has ripe tropical fruit on the nose, with hints of vanilla. It has a  balanced, generous palate, with elements interweaving well and it suits perfectly all kind of sweets. It is harvested in late October and it is produced from a late harvested wine produced from the famous Frascati. It comes from the Winery Cantina San Marco - Frascati (Lazio region) - ed. 2012 

Answers to questions

As requested by Marion at the end of the class, here is the typical bruschetta recipe:


Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Basilico (Bruschetta with tomato and basil)
Ingredients (serving 4 people):
- 8 slices italian bread
- 4 tomatoes (the best kind you can get to make 
bruschetta this time of the year are called Pomodori a Grappolo or back home I suggest you to use the Roma Tomatoes type)
- 10 leaves fresh organic basil
- 1 clove garlic (remember to remove the heart of it, as it's heavy to digest when raw)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

- salt

- pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F (or 200°C) and toast the bread until crisp and golden brown for about 5 minutes. Rub each slice of bread with half a clove of garlic, then drizzle with one table spoon of Extra Virgin olive oil (since now I'll call it E.V. olive oil) and season with salt. You can toast the bread in the toaster, but using the oven dries it out more, adding an authentic touch! Be sure to use only a good cold-pressed E.V. olive oil as the dish depends on the quality of the oil.

For your tomato and basil topping you have to chop the tomatoes in small cubes, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with few table spoons of E.V. olive oil and serve.

I hope you had a good time, and enjoying your time in Rome so far!

Have fun cooking and a great dinner!