Italian Cooking Class? Mamma Mia!

Yes, my work is awesome. We have different diversity activities that we can participate in, and this time we could attend a cooking class in the Meredith Test Kitchen over lunch. Alessandra hosted an Italian class — if you’re from Des Moines, she has Italian cooking classes in the East Village that I’ve heard are so much fun! And after taking a mini class over lunch, I can definitely confirm that they would be a blast! She is so much fun, so bubbly, and can cook some AMAZING Italian food. For our class, we made gnocchi with roasted red pepper sauce. My boyfriend has tried a few times to make gnocchi, and let’s just say, he’s not quite there yet after tasting Alessandra’s version (sorry babe, a little more practice 🙂 ). Anyways, I jotted some notes during the class and am providing you with her delicious sauce recipe. The gnocchi you’re on your own…or try taking her class and have her teach you herself!

Alessandra passing out the dough!

Alessandra‘s Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


  • 3 whole red peppers
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 whole medium onion, diced
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of heavy cream
  • Fresh Parmesan

NOTE: The thing with Alessandra is that she doesn’t really measure things…so keep tasting it until it’s right where you want it! Add a little more cream, a little more salt, pepper, whatever fits your fancy 🙂

Roast whole red peppers on baking sheet at 450 degrees F until charred on outside. Remove from oven and wrap in tin foil, keeping heat in (about 15 minutes). Remove peppers and peel skins from outside (they should come off easily); open peppers and remove stems and seeds. Chop peppers and place in saucepan. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté until onion is tender. Blend pepper mixture. If desired, add basil and blend. Otherwise, add basil after mixture has been blended to have a chunkier consistency. Add to saucepan; stir mixture on low heat. Add cream (here is where Alessandra added a TON of cream…use however much you like, tasting to decide desired cream amt). Simmer mixture, making sure it does not boil. Serve over hot pasta and top with fresh parmesan!

This was SO GOOD! I can’t wait to try my hand at homemade gnocchi 🙂 Maybe with both Max and I working as a team, we’ll be able to perfect it!



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