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Old 02-05-2012, 09:08 AM   #1
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What Italian dishes would you like to learn how to cook??

I would like to get a bit of feedback from this wise bunch here, it you would be so kind.
I have been asked to be a guest Chef at a Restaurant which is running a series of Cooking Classes. As some of you probably know, I have had experience cooking in Italy, which is where I cut my teeth at the beginning of my career. I have also been cooking Italian classics ever since. So, this is why I was asked. He is going with a different theme every week.

So, I need to come up with some dishes that I would think people would be interested in cooking. I would like to show a few techniques that they probably don't know, but not so complicated or impractical that they wouldn't go home and try themselves. I want to make it interesting and have them take something away they can use.
I should keep it down to a starter, main and dessert. Should I go with Classics? I would hate to do something that they all have done before. Or, should I go with some newer dishes, which will require a bit of research, I suppose.

If you were taking a class like this, what would you like to learn or take part in?

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Old 02-05-2012, 09:23 AM   #2
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Most people seem to be familiar with the North American version of Italian cooking and not true Italian cooking. If I was attending your presentation I would be interested in simple dishes using seafood, fresh vegetables, simple pasta dressings and simple fruit or cheese dessert. I already am pretty familiar with red sauce and cheese or beans and greens type things. If you had more time I would say a course on Italian baking and fresh pasta making but, that is probably too much for what you are talking about. I hope you will practice your presentation on us when you get it put together.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:34 AM   #3
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Even though we have made potato gnocchi many times, we are always searching for those "light, airy clouds" we were exposed to in a local resturant. We certainly learned that baking the potatoes as opposed to boiling them, was a vast improvement. Also a sauce other than red or brown butter sage.

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Old 02-05-2012, 10:00 AM   #4
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I would love to learn more than tomato sauce and alfredo sauce. It would be great to have more than that to serve with pasta.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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Arancini

A proper rissotto

Gnocchi

Ravioli stuffed with something other than cheese/meat - maybe squash or lobster - and with a sauce other than red sauce.

Calamari - most folks only order it out & don't make it at home
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:07 PM   #6
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I second the calamari. Cleaning those are scary.
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:32 PM   #7
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For dessert, I'd like to learn how to make Cannolis or Zeppoles.

For a main course. Shrimp Fra Diavolo or Ravioli with a variety of fillings and sauces.



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Old 02-05-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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I think showing how easy it really is to make fresh pasta would be a real enlightenment for students.

And the a nice sauce, not tomato based for their pasta. Is this a lecture class or a hands on class?
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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I don't know about Canada, but people in the US tend to be not as familiar with some of the northern Italian dishes, such as Osso Bucco, Gnocchi, and Risotto.

I think Risotto, in particular, is good to demonstrate because a lot of people think it's difficult to make. And there are many variations, too.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:45 AM   #10
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Thanks for the ideas. Good ones. I have to get things scheduled out so we can do this in a certain amount of time. So I may go with something that can be made a la carte. Not sure how much practical hands-on stuff I can actually get them to do. Gnocci is a good idea. Get them all rolling them out. I was thinking some kind of Scallopini. Get them slicing, dicing, hammering, dredging, browning, deglasing and reducing. Still drawing a blank on dessert. I'm not much of a dessert maker.

Still thinking....
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:57 AM   #11
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biscotti, for sure. i love biscotti but don't know a single person who makes her own.... :)
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:13 AM   #12
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In general I think anything that isn't tomato based over pasta would be an eye opener.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitauta View Post
biscotti, for sure. i love biscotti but don't know a single person who makes her own.... :)
I think biscotti is a great idea, if it doesn't take too long. Then people could find out how great they are - that they don't have to be those tasteless, dried up things I usually find in cafés and restaurants.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
Thanks for the ideas. Good ones. I have to get things scheduled out so we can do this in a certain amount of time. So I may go with something that can be made a la carte. Not sure how much practical hands-on stuff I can actually get them to do. Gnocci is a good idea. Get them all rolling them out. I was thinking some kind of Scallopini. Get them slicing, dicing, hammering, dredging, browning, deglasing and reducing. Still drawing a blank on dessert. I'm not much of a dessert maker.

Still thinking....
How long is the class?

I had a cooking class for couples. Each group of 2 couples (10 couples) made a component of the meal. Our team made the gnocchi, it took an hour to prepare the meal and an hour to eat! It was a lot of fun.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
How long is the class?

I had a cooking class for couples. Each group of 2 couples (10 couples) made a component of the meal. Our team made the gnocchi, it took an hour to prepare the meal and an hour to eat! It was a lot of fun.
Not sure. I have a bit of a meeting tomorrow. I should get the main questions answered then. I'm not even sure how many people he has coming, if he wants me to actually conduct or just assist with the itinerary and prep. I will let you know as soon as I find out. Thanks for the ideas, everybody. Keep em coming.....
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #16
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How about a semifreddo for dessert?
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:34 AM   #17
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I rather think Pasta alfredo is something typical american?

what crosses my mind:
- carbonara. A real carbonara, no cream, just eggs, bacon, onions and pecorino. So easy, so fast..
- Ragů alla bolognese. Takes probably to long, but everyone should know the taste of a real bolognese...
- Saltimbocca alla romana
- Osso buco milanese
- risotto
- Antipasti (Bruschetta, Bresaola, Prosciutto crudo, ....)
- minestrone
- Pesto (a la genovese, rosso, ...)
- panna cotta
- tiramisu
- zabaione

well... there would be so much more....
And now I'm hungry - wonder if there is enough time for a risotto....?
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #18
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and don't forget the wines.. ;o)
and a Spritz as Aperetif and the grappa at the end... together with the double espresso..

hmm.. I think I have to go the Italy again...
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:59 AM   #19
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i heartily support the tiramisu idea. tiramisu is a delicious dessert that is widely embraced and enormously popular in a variety of settings. it doesn't even require baking, yet many of us are hesitant to attempt making it on our own....
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:41 PM   #20
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Trippa alla Romana
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