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Cooking Pasta from Scratch in Florence (& Thoughts on Food in Italy)

Feb 25, 2016 5:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring_2016_Marte_Eggleston_-_Official_CAPA_Blogger_Profile.jpgMarte Eggleston is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism major at the Indiana University, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Marte learns to make pasta from scratch during a My Global Education cooking class and appreciates the approach Italians have to food.

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One of my lifelong goals has been accomplished thanks to CAPA: I made pasta from scratch.

It was my mission to do this somehow while I was in Florence. I made the cut to get into the 20-person class and could barely contain my excitement throughout the day. We were given plastic throwaway aprons and official looking assistant chef’s hats. Our task was to make pasta fresco alla norma, risotto alla milanese, and tiramisu with the help from the professionals at Dado’s Kitchen. I was more than ready for the challenge.

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We needed to first make the pasta, starting out with all purpose flour, semolina flour, and eggs. The careful mixing and kneading of the dough took all of our attention, and then we needed to gently run the dough through the pasta maker. For me, the experience was almost magical, and I am surely going to try to bring a pasta maker home with me.

The rest of the prep involved cutting eggplants and tomatoes, making the custard for the tiramisu, and carefully layering custard and ladyfingers. I am paraphrasing the prep time because it did take a considerable amount of time, but I would have been willing to make two more courses. (That’s probably just me though.)

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Once we got to the actual cooking part in the professional grade kitchen, I was so hungry I thought I wouldn’t actually make it the sixteen minutes it takes to make risotto. It all came together in a wonderful dance through the kitchen, and we did, finally, get to eat our creations. In my opinion it tasted amazing but that could be due to hunger and personal pride.

The Italians care deeply about their food. They want to know how it is made, where it comes from, and if it’s fresh. I have learned how vital it is to the culture; food is engrained in the Italian soul. It has been a topic in all of my classes so far. In cross-cultural psychology, my professor said her daughter’s school lunch has three courses of fresh food. Three courses. Of fresh food. I would have killed to have that every day at school.

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What also amazes me is how few ingredients are really needed to make food delicious. While we were making the different courses each recipe only needed ten or fewer ingredients, and it tasted delicious! Food should be celebrated in this way, and a person’s health can really benefit from think about food in this way. I want to take this mindset about food back to the US with me. It reinforces what I love about food, and why I love cooking.

Thanks Marte!

Marte's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.

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Topics: Official Bloggers and Vloggers, Florence, Italy, My Global Education, Food Abroad