For Max’s birthday, my parents got him a cooking class with Alessandra in the East Village. He’s been wanting to do an Italian cooking class for awhile now, especially since his family makes pasta for holidays, so we went last night for a cannelloni class. (I previously attended Alessandra’s gnocchi class at Meredith — you can see that post here.) It was seriously so much fun!
We got there at 6:00 and took our seat; there ended up being 10 of us for the class. We brought a bottle of wine and Alessandra brought out some of her delicious homemade focaccia (she has classes on how to make focaccia, too!) After everyone got there, she gave us a rundown on Italy and what regions the different pastas come from…and then the work started. We made the ricotta-spinach filling, tasting it as we went (on the focaccia of course!), and then watched intently as she demoed how to roll out and shape the pasta. Alessandra showed us the technique for cutting linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle, ravioli, tortellini, and, of course, cannelloni. If you didn’t know, cannelloni are the large tubes of pasta stuffed with filling. Unlike manicotti, which is made with a machine to get perfect round tubes, cannelloni is made by hand, kind of like an Italian enchilada.
Once we watched her roll out and shape the dough with ease, we each got our own dough to make a few cannelloni. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as easy as she made it look! Once we got our dough rolled, we cut out large rectangles, dropped them in boiling water, fished them out after a few seconds, and then placed them in cold water so we could handle them. Next, we added filling to the noodle, rolled it up, and placed it in the pan. Each of us made four cannelloni, and then made whatever other pasta we wanted with out leftover dough (can’t wait to eat our leftovers tonight!). I chose to make pappardelle 🙂
Alessandra topped our rolled-up delicacies with a little homemade tomato sauce and popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes. And then, the best part…we got to eat! Max was able to put away about nine cannelloni. I didn’t fare quite as well, as I had eaten about half of the focaccia loaf. But they were so delicious. The pasta and ricotta melted in your mouth. So good! We will definitely be going back for another cooking class after she gets back from Italy this summer!