Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Me with Amanda from Australia [left] and cookery teacher Katia [centre] at loveSicily.

Lois from the USA [right] with Katia and Amanda.

Bright and early yesterday morning [for 8.30 am is very bright and early for me] your intrepid blogger trotted off to Modica Bassa to join Katia of loveSicily and two other adventurous participants for the first cookery class of the week.

The School is situated in the Cartellone district of Modica Bassa and you have to climb up some very steep steps to reach it. Once there, however, you are greeted by Katia and offered refreshment, though it is refreshment enough just to look at the stunning views from the School's balconies:

Once we had all introduced ourselves and were chatting easily about the meaning of "life, the universe and everything", Katia revealed the lunch menu which we were to cook: cavatelli [cavatieddi in dialect] pasta with a broccoli sauce alla siracusana, chicken with Modican chocolate and tiramisù made with ricotta rather than mascarpone.

So, first, the pasta: Katia used durum wheat rimacinata flour and mixed it with salt and water to make a dough:

Then we were each given a portion of dough to roll into a thin sausage shape and cut:

Next Katia presented each of us with one of these implements. [I've been unable to find out what they are called. If there are any Sicilians reading this, please can you tell me?] You are supposed to sort of roll the pieces of pasta down the thingamy to get the cavatieddi shape. It takes a bit of practice!

Once the shapes are made, they can be put aside until you are ready to cook them. Cover them with kitchen paper if you are going to leave them for a long time.

Now for the sauce: First, soak some sultanas in water until they plump up.

Wash and separate the florets of purple-sprouting or white broccoli. This purple-sprouting broccoli was freshly delivered to Katia's door:

Simmer the broccoli in water with a little salt.

Grate some semi-matured and matured ragusano cheese:

Brown a garlic clove in olive oil and add the broccoli. When the broccoli is done add the drained sultana and season with black pepper.

Cook the pasta for a minute or two in the broccoli water and drain.

Add the broccoli and cheese to the pasta and stir.

Should you, dear reader, decide to participate in one of Katia's enjoyable and interesting courses, you will partake of this and the other dishes for lunch on the balcony. However, another school and my eager students awaited your galloping gourmet blogger, so Katia popped my portions in a bag and I had a very special evening meal. I did not, however, take home a portion of pasta as I feared its fate on a bus travelling through narrow, twisting streets in the lunchtime chaos. Therefore I cannot show you a picture of the finished dish.

For the chicken dish, Katia had marinated some chicken thighs in prosecco:

She chopped half an enormous Giarratana white onion and let it sweat in olive oil. When it was soft, she added the drained chicken portions and let them brown:

Meanwhile, she ground two squares of 100% cocoa Modican chocolate

with 2 cloves and some fennel seeds:

She added this mixture to the pan with 3 dessertspoons of white wine vinegar and 1 dessertspoon of sugar. She then let it all cook on the hob for 30 minutes. It was delicious!

And finally, our tiramisù, made the Modican way with ricotta: For 5 ramekins of tiramisù, Katia mixed 2 x 12 oz tubs of ricotta with caster sugar, giving it a final blast with the hand blender:

Then we dipped savoiardi biscuits in cold Italian coffee and fitted them into the bases of ramekins:

We spread ricotta on top of this and sprinkled over a mixture of cocoa powder and cinnamon. The tiramisù was left to chill.

Cincin, readers. Thank you for your company, Amanda and Lois. E grazie a Katia per la lezione divertente.


Unknown said...

What a wonderful class! You really did cook from scratch, didn't you? I have made pasta, but I always used a pasta machine to roll and cut it.

Now I must satisfy my craving for food. I believe that I will use the microwave.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Such a super day to remember, how fascintating making the pasta ..looks pretty difficult maybe with practice. Good to have a go, and meeting more people, well done.

You were right about just going for the views, and you have great photos.

Rowena said...

I am definitely going to try that chicken recipe. What a FABULOUS post, with loads of photos and an inside peek with Love Sicily! That wooden thingamajingy is called a rigagnocchi as far as I know, but maybe they call it something else in Sicily. I've got one myself but only my husband is pretty good at using it (as it should be since he is the italian in the family).

jams o donnell said...

So much deliciousness. It's the view that really is one to drink in!

Sally said...

I loved this post and loved even more the idea of you ladies cooking away together with lots of chat no doubt - one of the nicest things of all to do. I'll be trying the pasta and broccoli but think the chicken will elude me as no 100% chocolate from Modica within a 100 miles of here!! Plan to try Lina Stores next time I'm in London.

Lucia said...

Thank you for that! That is definitely something I would love to do with friends!

James Higham said...

It's so obvious you had a whale of a time!

sally in norfolk said...

looks a fantastic fun morning... :-)

Always good to do something new where you can meet new people too :-)

Ellee Seymour said...

It sounds terrific. I can't imagine what home made pasta tastes like. what a lot of love goes into the Italian cuisine.

CherryPie said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic day :-)

After seeing all that food, I think it is time for my second dinner ;-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi. Nick. Yes, from scratch. A belated "buon appetito" to you. Hi, Anne. Much easier than you'd think to make the pasta. Glad you like the pics. Hi, Rowena. Thanks for your kind words. A rigagnocchi - thank you! I'm sure there must also be a Sicilian word but no one I have spoken to knows what it is! Hi, jams. Best enjoyed with a g&t, I think. Hello, Sally. Yes, it was very enjoyable. I'll be happy to sens you the choc. Hi, Lucia. Yes, it would be nice to do with friends. Hi, James. I sure did! Hi, Sally. Yes, always interesting. Hi, Ellee. One day you will come and taste some! Yes, a lot of love. Hi, Cherie. Yes, I did. Buon appetito to you, too.

Minnie said...

Beautiful views, indeed, Welshcakes - love that honey-coloured stone. Suspect I'd be gazing out of the window and failing to pay attention, were I there!
Very tempted by the pasta recipe (although I'll buy the pasta, thank you ;-)!): sounds like something that could be adapted seasonally.
Good for you - Brava! Sounds as if you're having a great time and learning some wonderful new recipes - just as you should be.

jmb said...

Another interesting day.

Do you know I ordered Tiramisu the other day in a restaurant and it was flavoured with Kalhua(sp?). It also had an oreo cookie base. I felt like saying you should not have the gall to call this Tiramisu. There are people who know what it actually is eating here.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Phidelm. Well, the view is certainly enchanting! I imagine the pasta recipe could be adapted, yes. I had a great time. Hi, jmb. I can't imagine kahlua in it. YOu should have said that!


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