The Tuscan Way
Italian food has always been near and dear to my heart, so the private cooking class my husband and I took with Chef Suzana at Il Goccino Ristorante in the small medieval town of Lucignano was basically a dream-come-true. Being able to learn from and cook with an experienced chef in the heart of Tuscany was a truly authentic experience that I won’t soon forget.
We began by kneading the dough for the Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli. It was important to achieve the perfect consistency before chilling and then rolling out the dough. Some dough we rolled by hand and some using the machine, as Suzana wanted us to taste the difference in the two. Then we placed the filling and hand cut each ravioli. My mouth was watering already – I could not wait to taste the pasta!
Next we chopped giant leeks, basil and garlic for the Pappa al Pomodora (tomato bread soup). It is always amazing to see how just a few fresh ingredients create such a beautiful pot of soup.
For our entree, we prepared Tuscan style roast beef using a recipe that had been passed down from the chef’s mother. The beef we used was so local, it came from a farm in the same town where the restaurant is located. Suzana infused the meet with garlic and sage, then browned it and baked in a pot of basil, carrots, celery, onion, and white wine.
The final step was to prepare the Tiramisu, which was surprisingly simple. A little egg, sugar, mascarpone cheese, coffee and biscuits, and we had an amazing looking dessert!
After all the courses were prepared and cooked, my husband and I sat outside on the restaurant’s terrace overlooking Val di Chiana, the Tuscan valley adjoining the towns of Cortona and Montepulciano. It was the most beautiful and appropriate setting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
The food was absolutely to die for! Although everything was amazing, the Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli in a butter and sage sauce was one of the most incredible things. And it wasn’t a big surprise that the hand rolled ravioli were that much more tasty than the machine rolled.