[From 2011 Rome Archives] – I was invited to take a cooking lesson at Trust.Ever.Tastes – located in the building in which i was living at the time. The small company is dedicated to teaching real Italian home cooking. The name Trust.Ever.Tastes is a play on the neighborhood Trastevere (trust-ever-ae), where the class is located. Founders Paola and Carlo led the intimate class in a setting that overlooks the fountain and famous church in Piazza Santa Maria.
To start, we made simple appetizers containing dried prunes, fresh mint and speck – similar to prosciutto, but deboned before curing; and cured with herbs in addition to salt. Paola had me roll each prune into the thin slices of speck, with two tiny mint leaves within. We then baked the bites in the oven at 180º C (350º F) for about 7-10 minutes. Placed them into a small white tray, inserted sticks and served with a glass of Prosecco as we continued on to our pasta making.
We soon moved over to the pasta making station to make the egg dough. We cracked a whole egg into 100g (3.5 oz) of flour (for individual serving) and mixed with our fingers until we got a soft, yellow ball of dough. We wrapped the dough in plastic and placed into the refrigerator to cool as we moved to the stove.
The sauce for the day was Rome’s popular Amatriciana – a typical Roman pasta sauce made of tomato, guanciale (jowl bacon) and pecorino cheese. Paola first informed us that there are debates about making the sauce: some people like to add onions, but Paola refuses because, as she explained, onions end up sweetening the sauce; and Amatriciana should not be sweet but savory and slightly spicy. In fact, as you can see from my photo above, we added black pepper and hot red pepper flakes.
As the sauce simmered, we took our chilled (and rested) pasta dough and passed it through a pasta maker, making the egg noodles to be used in our dish. Once cooked, the noodles were fully mixed into the sauce, placed into individual serving bowls and topped with freshly grated Roman Pecorino cheese.
After enjoying our wonderful first course in the dining room, we moved on to an amazing local olive oil tasting, then to dessert. Paola instructed us on how to make zabaglione; which we poured onto pears that sat in a bath of warm mulled red wine and spices. The perfect ending to a delicious lesson.
Classes at Trust.Ever.Tastes cover all different types of Roman cuisine and cooking styles. Visit their website for more information or to book your spot.
NOTE: This is an updated version of an article originally posted in 2011 on a previous blog I ran called Modern Culture: Italy. The article was part of a series called Adventures in Rome. The blog no longer exists; however, I am pulling and updating some of the articles that I found to be interesting enough to have a life here on Magnusmade.com.