Bologna Cooks

Cooking schools and cooking classes in Bologna and a recipe for homemade tagliatelle alla bolognese

All that great food in Bologna, all those great ingredients—wouldn't it be great to know what to do with them all? There are a bunch of cooking schools in Bologna.

Cooking Lessons

Several websites collects lists of various kinds of culinary adventures out there, from one-day classes to one-week courses, full-fledged tours to agriturims with a cooking program, including Epiculinary (www.epiculinary.com) and ReidsItaly.com partners RealAdventures.com (www.realadventures.com) and InfoHub (www.infohub.com).

Here are some of the best cooking schools in Bologna:

Cook ItalyCook Italy - Enjoy hands-on cooking of authentic Italian meals in very small groups (four to eight at a time). Beautiful locations throughout Italy, but mostly in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, and neighboring Tuscany. Bologna custom market-to-table classes (from €110) and three-night gourmet breaks (from from $250 per person, per day). tel. +39-051-644-8612; www.cookitaly.com. Reserve it
Gli Amici di Babette - Offers some 15 three-hour courses on breads, pastas, pastries, and desserts at all skill levels for €65 to €80 per lesson (there are also double-session lessons on historical cooking—ancient Roman, medieval, Renaissance, and 19th century—for €150). Via San Felice 116, scala G; tel. 051-649-3627 or 339-701-1003; www.amicidibabette.com.
La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese - Does a one-day course (10am–2pm) covering from antipasti to tortellini, tagliatelle, and desserts at €80 (you get to eat the results, accompanied by wine and water). A three-day, pasta intensive course costs €210. Via Malvasia 49; tel. +39-051-649-1576; www.lavecchiascuola.com.
Italy Cooking SchoolCooking Tours: Experience Real Local Life In Italy - Runs culinary tours and wine tours across Italy, including Bologna and Emilia-Romagna. Cook with many chefs, home cooks on the same tour, visit wineries & food producers, markets, art, walks. Meet an amazing variety of local people in places off the tourist track and get immersed in real Italian life. Tour costs: from €855. Reserve it
Cookbook author Mary Beth Clark also runs a cooking school in Bologna via www.internationalcookingschool.com.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

In case you cant wait to get over there to start making a Bolognese classic, here's a recipe for Tagliatelle alla Bolognese(serves 4).

Sautée 1/2 cup of chopped onion in sesame oil until soft. Add 1/2 cup each of chopped carrots and celery and cook for a few more minutes. Add half a pound of ground chuck (the fattier the better) and 1/4 pound of chopped pancetta.

Once the beef has turned tan, pour in 1/2 cup of whole milk, simmer until it's gone, then add a cup of red wine and bubble it away. Dump in a 12-15 oz. can of roughly chopped whole plum tomatoes, with all their juices. Cook at a bare simmer for as long as possible (3 hours minimum), stirring occasionally and adding a bit more with red wine if it starts drying out.

While it's cooking, knead 4 beaten medium eggs into 2 cups of flour—but hold back the final 1/2-cup to add as necessary until the dough is no longer sticky. Take the kneaded lump, flatten it a bit into a thick disc, give it a quarter turn, fold it in half, and press it forward with the heel of your hand to flatten again. Repeat a good 30-40 times, until the pasta is smooth and elastic and your arm is really, really tired.

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls (keep the ones you're not working with wrapped in plastic wrap so they won't dry out), and flatten each ball into a thin sheet with a rolling pin or a hand-cranked pasta machine (never an automatic pasta maker). Leave each sheet to dry about 10 minutes on kitchen towels before cutting it into thin tagliatelle strips (that way, they won't stick together).

Bring a huge pot of water to a boil, dump in 2 tablespoons of salt, and wait until it comes to a roiling boil again. Drop in the fresh pasta and cook very briefly, just until the noodles start to float, to get properly aldente pasta (it should still have a bite or snap when you sample it). Drain, sauce it up, and enjoy.

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This article was written by Reid Bramblett and was last updated in June 2010. All information was accurate at the time.

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