A wonderful day began with a visit to Leonardo and Jaynie’s kitchen garden from which the seven of us returned laden with produce for the day’s recipes. Hard to resist biting into those plum tomatoes on the journey back…
First we learnt to make pasta. Leonardo made it look so quick and easy (they do say practice makes perfect!) but we all created an authentic-looking dough, even if it did take us a little longer. Pasta tip of the day: if in a rush, just roll out the dough to the desired thickness, slice into strips and pinch pieces off to make rough pasta shapes called Spizzichi.
Now, a vegetable sauce for the pasta, using two priceless tricks of the trade: a basil cream and a garlic cream. Simple and spectacular sauces that can be used as a base for any number of others – your imagination is your guide – and are fabulous in their own right too.
Ricotta cheese was made before our eyes – and indeed with a little help from one or two of us under strict supervision - by a local lady who brought in 10 litres of milk obtained from her goats just a few hours earlier. Later we were shown how to make a traditional Ricotta and Chocolate Tart.
Melanzane (aubergine) Parmigiana was next on the list, made in layers with parmesan, mozzarella, grilled aubergine, and a mouth-watering sauce made from Leonardo and Jaynie’s own tomatoes. Then a break for lunch - our opportunity to relax on the restaurant terrace with its glorious mountain view, and enjoy the pasta, the Melanzane Parmigiana and some ricotta from the earlier demonstration.
Back to the kitchen to learn Leonardo’s Saffron Chicken – simple and unbeatably delicious, this is a must-know for those with a love of good food and no spare time! It gets my vote for the best dish of all, with the Melanzane Parmigiana coming a very close second. And yes, we have been able to make both at home – so not only was the day with Leonardo and Jaynie a hugely enjoyable experience in its own right - wonderful hosts! - but my partner and I have added some key dishes to our list of favourite things to cook.
Grazie Mille Leonardo e Jaynie!
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