Day 2: Italian Cooking Lesson with Emanuela

Our second afternoon we had scheduled a cooking lesson with Emanuela, the hostess of our BibiLoved House vacation rental.  She gave us a wide variety of ideas of what she could teach us and let us choose what we wanted to learn. She had previously owned a restaurant and been the cook, so we wanted to learn sauces. She can also teach you how to make their traditional pastas.

Her golden retrievers napping on the patio

IMG_5289Time to start cooking!


IMG_5293Fresh, local ingredients is the secret to Italian cooking


IMG_5295I took notes as Emanuela and Wally did the cooking. Their local Parmigiano Reggiano cheese melts in your mouth, and when topped with region’s renowned 20-30 year balsamic vinegar, divine! This is your first course…


IMG_5306Guess who gets bits of cheese rind??? please???IMG_5304The biggest difference between European cooking and the United States is that the Europeans weigh their ingredients versus measuring it into cups, teaspoons, etc. So her recipes take some converting for us to “Americanize” them to try at home.

IMG_5307Her Ragu sauce was one of the best I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot! We made it at home and it wasn’t as good as hers, but still good. Emanuela pointed out that in her region, they don’t let their sauces simmer for hours.

Here’s the gist of her recipe and you can use noodles of your choice:


Finely chop 1 carrot and 1 stick celery

In a large pot put: 2 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp olive oil and then add the finely chopped carrot and celery and cook on medium high about 5 minutes.

Add: 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 ground beef and cook another 10 minutes stirring until the meat is browned.

Add: half glass of red wine, 1 can of tomatoes (she didn’t specify whole or chopped). We used a jar of our home-canned tomatoes.

In a separate cup, put 1/2 cup milk, 3 heaping Tbsp tomato paste (hers was a local Mutti brand paste made just a few miles away), a Knorr vegetable base Bouillon cube, a dash of sugar and two pinches salt. Let cube and paste dissolve and stir together. Then add to the pot, stir well and cover  the pot (vented) and let it simmer a bit.

Optional additions would be: paprika or herbs (oregano, thyme, etc.), onion and garlic (saute first with the carrot and celery)

IMG_5308This was Salsa Norma with eggplant


Salsa Norma with eggplantIMG_5315


Salsa per carne alla griglie or Sauce for Grilled Meat

A delicious sauce – one of my favorite Italian condiments!

4 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp olive oil

10 green olives

1 Tbsp confectioners powdered sugar

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp thyme

Pinch of salt and Pinch of oregano

Directions: Put in blender or food processor and process until it becomes a smooth paste. Apply to grilled pork, beef, chicken, etc. It’s good on everything

IMG_5319Cheesy pumpkin risotto

IMG_5332A traditional sage bread


Sweet candied little onions with Balsamic Vinegar

8-10 little sweet onions, pre-boiled

1/2 oil, 1/2 butter in skillet – saute the onions on medium temp

Add and stir: 2 little spoons of salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

These are like a dessert but served in one of the first few courses. 

IMG_2254Making pizza…


IMG_5331Testing time…

Jamie and Wally cooking classWhen it was all done, we sat down and sampled all of those delicious dishes, washing it down with more local wine. What a wonderful evening spent with a warm and fun hostess! Her sauces were some of the best we had while in Italy, and I would highly recommend her class. There was enough food for 20 people, and she wrapped us up “to go” containers and we ate on it for days.

Thanks Emanuela! Ciao!



Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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