Having traveled to Italy twice in my life, I can attest to the extraordinary passion for food that is a theme throughout the country. They want to please your palate and strive for perfection on the plate!
As a foodie and nutrition expert, I love to travel and taste foods that are distinct to different areas of the world. Whenever possible, my husband and I love to take cooking classes when we travel. It is a way to meet the local people, understand their culture a little bit more, and of course taste the local typical foods.
I love to cook, and I often advise clients to do more home cooking. It is a way to control the portions, ingredients, and there is something thoroughly satisfying about cooking a meal from start to finish.
If you are not a fan of cooking, I would suggest starting with simple meals, and gradually advancing. There are many online websites for recipes, or you can find endless ideas on Pinterest. I still really love flipping through an actual cookbook and of course looking at the pictures for inspiration.
Another way to strengthen your inner cook is to take a cooking class.
Many restaurants have cooking demos or classes to interest the aspiring cook. There are also cooking schools for the home chef that can help with knife skills, or a specific cuisine. You don’t have to travel the world to experience new cultural culinary flavors; there could be a restaurant or school in your neighborhood that can accommodate that ambition.
The name exactly describes this amazing restaurant where the chef/owner makes the dishes “from scratch”! The owners Claudia Rovegno and Roberto Santagati opened their delightful restaurant in 2015 and it has been gaining popularity ever since.
Claudia is the head chef and she explained to us that everything in the restaurant is made fresh that day with quality ingredients. She gets 50-60 % of the foods imported from Italy including the amazing San Marzano tomatoes used for her delicate, but flavorful sauce that has tremendous taste.
The olive oil, and cheeses also come from Italy. Foods that are not imported come from local organic farms--the organic chickens come from Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Hawthorne, NJ and the organic vegetables/herbs come from Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff, NJ. Claudia and Roberto take pride in choosing the best quality ingredients for their culinary delights.
- Pasta all’ amatriciana (Mezzo Paccheri Faella pasta in a San Marzano tomato sauce cooked with guanciale which is cured pork cheek, and of course pecorino cheese),
- Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken with the bones cooked in red wine sauce with vegetables and herbs, and
- Crema pasticcera (a light custard made of milk, egg yolks, and lemon/orange zest).
The menu is a classical authentic Italian meal with the chicken dish typical to Tuscany, the pasta native to Rome, and the dessert a favorite of Naples.
Mezzi Paccheri Faella pasta comes from Gragnano, near Napoli, Italy. The San Marzano tomatoes come from Nocerino Sarnese and they are a DOP product (protected designation of origin), which means that they come from a protected area near Salerno, Italy.
The bufala mozzarella also comes from Salerno, by flight every Wednesday night directly to JFK airport, NY. The burrata comes from Andria, Italy on the Adriatic side of the country.
The class was a very hands on experience with each participant taking turns chopping, stirring, zesting, and blending the foods to complete the intoxicating 3-course meal. I have posted some pictures that strive to fill in the gaps for the fun, and enlightening experience.
Some learning points of the night included:
- Chef Claudia explained that she doesn’t salt the tomato sauce at the beginning of cooking because it can change the taste of the sauce. She salts her sauce at the very end to enhance the flavor without changing it.
- Before cooking the delicate tomato sauce, it goes in a blender for a smooth consistency. She strains out the seeds in case of allergies.
- She also adds carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and basil to a cheesecloth, which then goes in the tomato sauce to cook and infuse tremendous flavor without chunks.
- Instead of adding sugar, Chef Claudia uses the carrot to naturally sweeten the sauce. The finished product is a light, and extremely flavorful experience!
I highly recommend this restaurant From Scratch, and their cooking class for authentic, delicious Italian cuisine! When you leave From Scratch you will feel like you traveled all the way to Italy! Claudia and Roberto treat each guest like family visiting their home, and offer impeccable hospitality throughout the meal. It will be an experience to remember! Contact Chef Claudia for the cooking class schedule. Have you taken a cooking class? Please share where, and what you made! Let’s connect soon!