PASSION!!!!! – key takeaway from Rana’s pasta-making class

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGiovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina
75 9th Ave
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave, in Chelsea Market)
New York, NY 10011

PAAASSSSIONNNN!!! Chef Antonella Rana’s voice is STILL ringing in my ears. That was my major takeaway from the pasta class I went to at this new italian restaurant in Chelsea market.

Have passion.

There are perks to having a best friend in the food industry. M.B. invited me and my beloved intern, Y.N., to one of their many pasta making classes. It’s normally a $65 per person class, which I thought was too hefty for me to ever want to do out of my own pocket, but definitely reconsidered after experiencing the class. Rana’s class was exceeded every expectation I had about cooking classes.

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The class comes with a complimentary glass of wine, any wine of your choice on their extensive list of wines-by-the-glass. We somehow managed to get two glasses… not sure if there’s a loophole in the system or if Y.N. and I were just looking really good Monday night.

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My very first apron with my name on it! Yes, I know it’s a sticker. This apron saved my camera’s life because pasta making is messy and I needed to wipe my hands every five seconds to use my camera.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPictured here is the beautiful Chef Antonella at the center. She’s everything I imagined an Italian chef to be. She had a rich Italian voice and accent, gestured a lot in her speech, and screamed, “PAAAASSSIONNNN!!!!” at least ten times during the class. The guy behind her and girl beside her are two of her many, many children.

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All you need to make some quality tortelli skin: flour, a bit of salt, and eggs. (the little cup with the brown stuff is ground coffee beans for the tiramisu tortelli we made)

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Fail city next door.

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We asked Chef Antonella’s daughter if she was an expert at pasta making. She very seriously responded, “Yes.” Confidence and passion runs in the family.

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Chef Antonella came over to each table multiple times. She spouted quotes about the importance of happiness, love, and passion in cooking. When she was kneading the dough, she reminded us to knead with our hearts and to pour our PAAASSSIONNN into it because it ends up making a difference in cooking. Cheesy? Maybe. But speak to me with a beautiful italian accent and I’ll listen to anything. She also spoke with so much sincerity that nothing came across as artificial or trite.

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For the filling, we had asparagus, spring onions, carrots, peas, and red peppers to play with. Along with mascarpone and ricotta cheese. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Y.N. and I hard at work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVoila, my green market tortelli.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the tiramisu tortelli, we just added ground coffee beans to the dough.

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Chocolate, more coffee, sugar, marsala wine, mascarpone, and ricotta.

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At the end of the class, we got to try the green market tortelli (that the pros made). This plate was surprisingly filling, probably because of all the mascarpone and ricotta. I really loved this tortelli. Like Chef Antonella said, the ravioli skin is thin enough such that the flavors of the filling really shine through. There is pretty much no sauce. The crunch from the asparagus with the sweetness from the red pepper and kick from spring onion really made this dish tasty and fresh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe tiramisu tortelli was served fried! It came with a fresh strawberry dip. I literally ended up just drinking the strawberry because the tiramisu was too heavy (good, but heavy). The strawberry dip was tart and tasted almost like a warm strawberry smoothie. It paired very well with the creamy, sweet tiramisu ravioli. They gave us recipe cards so I now know that the dip was literally made with only fresh strawberries. Nothing else. The ravioli was fried in boiling corn oil and dusted with powdered sugar.

The class began at 6:30 and didn’t end until around 10. That’s a good 3.5 hours. I had so much fun doing some real cooking and eating and drinking that I actually think the $65 is completely worth it. We also got to take our creations home, along with extra bags of pasta that they just threw along with the bunch into a very cute tote bag. As Y.N. said, one of the best Monday nights you could have with your girlfriends.

Big thanks to M.B. for the invite!!

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