Good times at La Cucina Di Sandra Abruzzese Class

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Fun foodie experiences in Melbourne with friends? The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed a lively fun and social evening with 8 foodies at La Cucina Di Sandra Cooking School for a La Cucina Abruzzese cooking class. Also please check out our Best Soups in Melbourne.

A hidden gem in Melbourne is Sandra Del Greco's cooking school in a converted warehouse in Richmond, exuding charm and conviviality. Exposed brick walls, artwork, Italian music, spectacular kitchen and dining table beautifully set with candles enhance the ambience. A slice of Italy. Sandra emphasises that her classes are a celebration of the fabulous regions of Italy and their cuisines.

On this night it was all about Sandra's home region of Abruzzo; the cuisine and the culture. Sandra says, "From hilly heartland we have the cuisine of the farmers, from the mountains we have the cuisine of the shepherds and from the sea in the coastal towns, the cuisine of the fisherman." We find Sandra's classes to be delightfully bespoke and niche; more than some of the "general" Italian cooking classes around. This is why so many people love it. Soon Sandra will be celebrating her 1000th customer attending her specialised cooking classes.

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A strength of Abruzzo is cooking with seafood and Sandra's Fish soup "Minestra di brodo di pesce e broccoli" was a highlight. Monk fish is perfect in soup, so luxe and silky! This is healthy fast food at its best! The aim of Sandra's recipes and classes is that you can cook this delicious rustic Italian regional cuisine at home.

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This is a traditional winter soup from Abruzzo. It is called minestra as all minestre have pasta. You can serve the soup with pasta or without for a lighter finger food course.  The addition of the broccoli is a typical combination of Abruzzese cuisine where vegetables are often served with fish based dishes, in traditional “Terra e mare” style cuisine. The pasta used can vary as well, you can make homemade pasta or use broken spaghettini often found in packs or break long spaghetti or spaghettoni. Sandra recommends you use good quality pasta imported from Italy such as Monograno Felicetti or Jesce brands to use the cooking method described in the recipe.

Sandra engaged the foodies with her stories of Italy, knowledge of the Italian scene, as well as local knowledge and shopping tips for cooking Italian cuisine.

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Cozze ripiene al forno (stuffed mussels) was a superb dish, with Sandra showing us handy tips for cooking with mussels. This dish is a traditional dish with local Australian mussels perfect for the job!  Zesty lemon set off the dish. The stuffing was delicious with homemade breadcrumbs, garlic, tomato, olive oil drizzled over the top; with golden crust from being baked in the oven. A rewarding dish!

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We perched on stools around Sandra as she taught and demonstrated, engaging with Sandra and others in our foodie group during the process.

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We enjoyed each course at the dinner table, making Sandra's cooking school a delightful dinner party as well as a cooking class. 

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Good times roll..A night at Sandra's cooking school is highly sociable and enjoyable.

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Lamb and saffron is iconic Abruzzo! Rigatoni all’ Abruzzese con salsa allo zafferano is a rustic triumph! This is exactly the sort of food we love to relax with and enjoy at home. Sandra sourced the best lamb mince from the market and cooked it with garlic and chilli along with first class Rigatoni pasta. This is comfort food at its best; perfect shape large pasta Rigatoni with compelling sauce tossed into the pasta. Check out my Instagram post with short video of Sandra cooking and tossing the pasta (for the sauce to stick).

Some of the best lamb in Italy can be found in Abruzzo, and the saffron harvested near L’Aquila is the best Italy produces and exports all over the world. Some of the best pasta in Italy is also produced in Abruzzo, use a good quality brand such as Rustichella or other imported brand from Gragnano, or Felicetti. Sandra always gives great tips on cooking with pasta for the home cook.

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Saffron ricotta cream with Crostoli was a spectacular dessert! Sandra showed us perfect piping bag technique and how to bring the ricotta through the sieve to get desired creaminess. All about passing the ricotta through the sieve and folding the mixture.

The advent of Tokay or sweet wine to this dish adds so much in terms of richness and depth.

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Book for Sandra's cooking classes online. Why not book for yourself and some friends. Book your class today online. Highly recommended.



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