Learning How to Make Fresh Pasta with Le Cesarine

fresh pasta Bologna
Tortellone perfection. Photo courtesy of Le Cesarine.

I’m a Bologna native and yet, practically until last week, I couldn’t make fresh pasta from scratch (blame my Mom – when she sees a kitchen, she turns the other way). That’s always been a source of amusement mixed with puzzlement for my friends from out of town. They say, ‘How can you be from Bologna and not know how to make fresh pasta?” (In case you didn’t know, fresh pasta around here is revered; it’s a big part of the region’s culinary tradition and eaten often, i.e. not just on Sunday, or special occasions).

I guess I’ve always thought it’s too time consuming and difficult, but I’ve happily changed my mind after my cooking class last week with Le Cesarine.

This Bologna-based start-up began as a cultural association 14 years ago to protect and promote Italian regional cuisine. “True traditional food is written in the family cookbooks,” the association states on its website. So, rather than offering a traditional cooking school format, Le Cesarine offers home-based cooking classes with expert local cooks who enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise of local, traditional recipes. These are often passed down within the family from one generation to the next, and therefore may include slight variations that belong just to that family, or even recipes no longer found in restaurants.

[Continue reading on Italy Magazine, where the article has been originally published. See photos of my endeavor below. Pictured is Cesarina Luisa, my teacher.]

cooking school Bologna
Breaking the egg into the flour mound before starting to mix and roll the dough.
fresh pasta Bologna
Cesarina Luisa was my home cook during the class I took with Le Cesarine. She taught me how to make tortelloni, a classic pasta dish from Bologna – and my favorite! It differs from tortellini as tortelloni are bigger and the filling is made of ricotta cheese and fresh spinach (or parsley). Here, she’s rolling out the dough – it’s no easy feat to make it just right (not too soft, not too dry).
tortelloni Bologna
Placing the filling (ricotta, fresh spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano, a pinch of salt) on each square of dough which will then be folded.
tortelloni Bologna
Learning the trick! Cesarina Luisa showing how to fold each square to give tortelloni their unmistakable shape. After my first few embarrassing attempts, I got the hang of it. Still far from Luisa’s mastery of it.
fresh pasta Bologna
Tortelloni, handmade by me!
cooking class Bologna
Et voilà! Tortelloni are served.

To read the full article, click this link

To learn more about Le Cesarine and to book a cooking class, or homemade dinner if you’re not into cooking, click here.

4 comments

  1. You did a beautiful job on making the pasta. I have made simple homemade pasta with a machine but the Tortellini is an art.

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