The room was roomy, bright with big windows, and clean. The location though is a little bit out of the way. It’s about 5-10 minutes walk from the main Santa Maria train station. We decided to take a bus sometimes from in front of our hotel to our destination, and walk back to the hotel because the weather was warmer than what we had expected for June (in the high 90’s).
Todd Bolton, a California native who has called Florence his home for the past 7-yrs, took us through 2 wineries, about 30 minutes outside of Florence, where we tasted probably 8-10 wines and a couple of olive oil.
This was a very nice and convenient all-inclusive package, which also includes the cost of transportation from Florence and back. I took the Robert Mondavi Tour while Red and I visited Napa last year and I can say that we got a lot more out of Todd’s session! I highly recommend his service and would book him again in a heart beat if we return.
She walked us through all of the different shops that she usually frequents and gave us overview of the all variety of pastas, meat, cheese, and vegetables.
We even got to sample some of the cheeses and the fancier cousin of (American) cold cut meats!
Then we started making our homemade pasta, ragu sauce, and veal ala Bolognese. It really started with a very simple ingredient: flour, eggs, and water.
Depending on the weather (humidity and temperature), Illaria can sense how much flour and water ratio! Now, that’s quiete a skill!
While it sounded very simple, this was the most difficult part! You make the dough first.
Then… ROLL it with the palms of your hand… for what felt like an eternity!
The pasta must be thin enough that you can see through it, of course, ours was uneven, and not thin enough!
We ran late because we couldn’t get the pasta to be thin enough as Illaria would like it to be! So we went ahead and started cutting it.
The key here is that you should put just enough flour while handling the pasta that once you cut it, it will nicely seperate itself when being gathered into a bundle like this picture.
After this was done, boil the noodle in a big pot of boiling water with salt. No oil, just salt.
On the same time, we also made the ragu sauce and the veal cutlet with prosciutto & parmesan cheese.
The ragu and the veal parts were pretty simple!
Needless to say, the technique is very similar to what I would do here.
Get very thin slices of meat, dip them in eggs and roll them onto bread crumbs– and pan fry them! Now, the parmiggiano and the prosciutto made them a little fancier!
After slaving away in the kitchen for about 4 hours, we finally got to enjoy our fruit of labor with Illaria!
Next installment: Restaurant in Florence…