Black pepper fettuccini in a white wine cream sauce and lemon-zested veal?
No, I’m not in Italy. I’m grating cheese, frying up bacon and boiling fresh-made pasta at a Vancouver cooking class.
One nifty thing about being travel writers is being invited to media events in our home city – and getting to discover places we’ve not visited before. The Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen in Vancouver’s funky Crosstown district is such a place.
The reason for this invitation? Air Transat is launching new non-stop summer flights from Vancouver to Rome, starting in June.
What better way to share the Rome news with Vancouver travel writers, editors and bloggers than by giving them a “get-your-hands-mucky” taste of Italy at a Vancouver cooking class!
Wine glasses in hand, we were divided into teams to work on making the pasta, fettuccini sauce, veal, veggies and dessert.
Here’s what we made:
I was assigned to the pasta team.
Some team-mates mixed flour, salt and eggs to form the pasta dough, which they then pounded and kneaded. The most fun part was feeding flattened sections of dough through the pasta machine to make LONG strings of noodles.
In the meantime, I helped to make the cream sauce with Karm Sumal (the passionate young founder of Vancity Buzz, a hit Vancouver webzine which draws in more than 4 million visitors a month).
Actually, I confess, he did most of the onion dicing and cheese slicing – thanks Karm!
(I had a glass of Pinot Grigio to nurse. But I did drizzle olive oil over the cherry tomatoes and slip them into the oven!) And we had lots of help from our chef instructors – who no doubt are used to their students getting distracted from their cooking tasks by wine and chit-chat as the evening progresses.
Eventually, our masterpiece was ready, and we served our pasta appetizer to the other teams at a communal dining table – to much applause, I’m proud to say.
There was only one oversight on our part – we forgot to make enough pasta for ourselves! No worries, though. The real chefs (aka, our instructors) quickly got to work and made the pasta team some pasta :-).
Our job done, we got to sit back, relax and enjoy the main course and dessert served by those teams.
Now, just in case you want to make your own black pepper pasta at home, here’s the recipe.