When we were looking through the recipes booklet for our cooking class in Rome, Veeran asked me if I had ever had tortellini before.
“Oh yeah, that’s what a lot of students and single people buy from the supermarket at home when they want a quick meal…”
Needless to say, I left the cooking class with a whole new appreciation for the intricacies of Italian pasta.
My trip to Rome earlier in May was my first ever time in Italy and if there is one thing I was excited about, it was the food. I knew fine well that pizza, pasta, wine, gelato, espresso and Aperol spritz were going to be my fuel for those short few days. Because, well, “When in Rome…” (It had to be said.)
Lots of people dream of going to Rome to see The Colosseum and imagine that they’re a gladiator. I dreamed of going to Rome to eat my bodyweight in pizza… but maybe with a view of The Colosseum to keep things cultural.
I decided that to make my foodie trip even more special, doing a cooking class was essential! Ever since doing one in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve been keen to try another one elsewhere and there really would be no better place than Rome.
When I was researching classes, one company in particular really caught my eye: Ristomama. Not only is their website beautiful (seriously, #webdesigngoals) but the classes are both authentic and intimate. Private groups go to their instructor’s home and learn how to cook some of Italy’s most famous dishes- all using the instructor’s own recipe and the menu that they’ve chosen their self!
Our guide was Paola who made us feel instantly welcome when showed up on her doorstep ready to cook. As Paola is from Bologna, we learned to make traditional food from that region.
Tortellini and tortelli were the dishes of the day- 2 dishes that ended up being much more complex than I would ever have expected. I was surprised to hear that tortellini (stuffed pasta shells) is actually a traditional Christmas food in Italy but, after making them for myself, I can understand why people aren’t keen to make it every day!
We made the pasta by hand and completely from scratch. Let me tell you, making fresh pasta is a skill and it takes a lot of time and patience! Strangely, it’s also quite simple at the same time as it only uses a few ingredients.
After we mixed all the ingredients together and ran the pasta through the press, it was time to start making our first pasta- tortellini.
When Paola showed us how to make it, I watched her nimble little fingers folding the pasta up and thought to myself, “easy, I’ve got this!”
I didn’t have it.
The first 20-odd tortellinis that I made looked totally deformed but, ya know, practise makes perfect! By the end of the cooking class, I still definitely needed about 10 years of more daily practice until mine would have looked right.
When it came time for a break, I was so ready for some cheese and wine to nibble on. Making pasta ended up being a lot more exhausting than I expected!
Luckily, the tortellini was the hardest task of the day- the tortelli was a breeze in comparison! It wasn’t easy, but it was much less intricate than the tortellini.
Here are the finished results:
At the end of the class, we all sat down together and enjoyed our creations over a glass of vino in Paola’s gorgeous living room.
The taste of the fresh pasta was completely worth the amount of effort that we put into making it. And, that’s saying something because it took us hours to prepare! It actually left me wondering why we even bother buying dried pasta at all when it must be much more economical to just make your own.
My favourite dish was the tortelli- the pasta tasted so fresh and I loved the simplicity of the sage and butter sauce that really let you just enjoy the pasta, rather than mask it. Veeran and I keep saying we’ll need to make it again one day. Whenever we have a forever house, a pasta maker will definitely be on the shopping list.
All in all, we had an amazing time taking our cooking class through Ristomama. It was such an authentic experience to actually cook in someone’s kitchen, rather than at a cooking school and cook the dishes are special to the teacher. Paola told us lots of stories about her life in Italy and made us feel like guests rather than students. She was so patient with us, even though it took us a while to get the nack for making pasta. We’ll definitely pop into say hi next time we’re around!
Her apartment is in a prime location in Central Rome with views out over the Pantheon from her living room window. It was the perfect setting for our class. Not only was it easy to get to, but that view reminded you that you’re in one of the most ancient cities in the world with just a glimpse!
If you’re going to be in Rome and want to spend an afternoon enjoying one of the most fascinating aspects of Italian culture, I can’t recommend Ristomama enough! Check out their website for more info and to book a class. They also have teachers in Naples and Florence, if you’re ever in that neck of the woods, too.
Let me know, have you ever done a cooking class before? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it! ( I love getting tips and new places for my “to-go” list!)
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Disclaimer: I received 2 complimentary places in this cooking class in return for this review. As always, I only support and review businesses that I think are amazing and that I think you’ll love too. All thoughts and opinions are my own.