Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Ciao my friends! Our last full day in Rome begins with breakfast on the garden patio. Sunbeams warming our bodies while sipping on a perfectly made cappiccino. Really, it does not get much better.
Today is a day of rest and meandering through our temporary neighborhood.
Trastevere is full of shops, and I love to shop, so a perfect day for me. We find a leather store which makes all their handbags right here in Rome. Of course I bought one, wouldn't you? Matching shoes you ask? Of course for each hand bag you can find matching shoes. When in Rome! We stop for lunch at Trattoria Da Teo, a local favorite with all the charm and warmth you hope to find in Rome. We are given the best seats in the house with an open window overlooking a beautiful terrace. Really the breeze coming through the window felt amazing and I seriously could have remained there for hours.
A few moments later a nice Roman family arrive and begin chatting away in the sing song rhythm Italian is known for. The Papa is in his 80's and greets us with a smile and informs us, this is the best restaurant in the neighborhood (all in Italian of course). It is clear they are regular customers as the chef comes out to greet them and they order off menu and directly to the chef. The family is engaging showing us family photos of children and grand children and we, in return do the same. While we enjoy our meal we equally enjoy watching what this local family orders. A beautiful sea bass with crispy potatoes, Roman artichokes and a fish dish with safforn. Off menu so I could not identfy the fish type. The food: Antipsti: Jewish artichokes and stuffed zucchini blossoms with mozzarella and anchovy. Both arrive golden and deep fried. You can usually choose between two options Jewish or Roman artichokes; the Jewish are deep fried to a crisp and dripping with oil or steamed and dressed with olive oil. Try both, for me the steamed option looked much better. The Jewish artichokes were crunchy with a nice soft center. The zucchini blossoms were light and tasty. The mozzarella was creamy and smooth adding a relief from the saltiness of the anchovy. A nice way to start the meal.
Primo: Ricotta and spinach stuffed ravioli in a fesh tomato and basil sauce. Quite simple yet wholly satisfiing. The sauce was slightly sweet from the fresh tomatoes while the ravioli was creamy and chewy. Compliments to the chef!
Secondo: Grilled lamb chops, thats exactly what you get. A Heaping pile of delectable lamb chops, oh and a small salad of romaine and cherry tomatoes. Trying to be polite and proper, my husband Michael used a knife and fork. He was quickly at a loss on how to remove the meat from the bones with this method and resorted to the ancient Roman Gladiator method of naugh it off the bone! Awe, satisfacation at last. The lamb was tender, warm and juicy all the good things you want from a well prepared chop. Sometimes simplicity is the best recipe.
Moving on to the evening we come back to Tree Charme and take a tiny rest. We have booked a cooking class with Walks of Italy (our favorite tour company). This is a pasta making class, now I know how to make pasta, yet this class is taught by two Roman chefs on a rooftop terrace over looking Rome. Yay, my jaw dropped too. There really was no question about taking the class after reading that. We have about an hour to kill before class so we slowly walk thought the narrow streets enjoying shopping and people watching. I find a kitchen shop and start to go a bit crazy. Michael reminds me we can't fit the entire store in the suitcase and I reel myself back to reality. Just one medium sized bags of goods. Next we find handmade lamb leather shoes for Michael. This city is just full of leather goods of the highest quality. I think we might need an extra suitcase! We meet our tour in the center of Campo de Fiori. The market has packed up and left for the evening and the square has filled with locals and tourist alike. Some of the surrounding bars set out sofas facing the square and inviting young love birds to cuddle and enjoy an evening spritz.
We walk with our group another five minutes to the apartment where the cooking class is held and climb three long and winding flights of marble stairs. Completely worth the effort! Once inside we are warmly greeted by the host chefs and escorted to the rooftop.
Here we find a large table with work stations set out for pasta making. In the center are snacks of flat bread, cheese, salami and olives. At each station a glass of bubbling Prosecco awaits the official toast.
After introductions and toast we begin the pasta making. Each station is set up with 100g or 1 cup flour, 1 fesh egg and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Our hosts are very good with the group both delivering humor along with misconceptions and jokes. For instance there is no such thing as Alfredo sauce in Italy, It is 100% American, they wanted to make this fact clear. Of course humorously told and with much tongue and cheek eye rolling.
We form a volcano from our flour, crack an egg in the center add the olive oil and begin whisking. Slowly we incorporate the flour keeping the edges of the vocano in tact until a nice custard like consistancy is formed. Using a fork we gather up the remaining flour and egg and create what looks like scrambled eggs. Now for the kneading. Adding sprinkles of flour the dough is form into a small circle, folded pressed with the palm of the hand, folded turned and so on and so on. Once the dough is suffiently worked it is wrapped in plastic wrap and allowed to rest for 20 mins. to 1 hr.
Tip: Make a double batch or more and at this point you can freeze the balls for later use. Remove feom freezer and allow to naturally thaw on the counter untill ready to work.
While waiting for the rest period we make our two sauces.
Pasta 1: Amatriciana with Fettuccine
A large chef pan is used to cook a heaping mound of chopped guanciale (pork jowl). It resembles bacon without the smokiness. I am given the honor if cooking this delicacy and ensuring it cooks evenly and does not burn. Once the jowl is removed, tomato sauce is added and it is removed to a burner of low heat.
Pasta 2: Ravioli with Butter, Sage and Lemon
A large fry pan is set over low heat and the butter is allowed to slowly melt. The sage and lemon rind are added and cooked for just a moment longer. Sauce is removed from heat and allowd to cool until the ravioli are ready.
Pasta rollers are set out for making the pasta. We are given instruction on proper handling of pasta as to not stretch or damage the sheets. We roll the pasta to the proper thickness and then cut the sheets in half. Half for fettuccine and half for ravioli.
We pipe the ricotta and spinach onto the sheets, fold in half and cut, viola, ravioli!
Here's the super fun part, we get to use a Chitarra or pasta guitar! What, you ask? Yes that is the name it really looks like a finger guitar, one side is for speghetti and the other is for fettuccine. We lay our pasta out on the fettuccine side and dust it with flour, using a rolling pin we press firmly and roll the pasta through the strings, perfect Fettuccini, and yes I have to have one! This thing is amazing!
Now that the pasta is ready we sit down to service. Our lovely hosts finish the pasta and plate it for us.
The ravioli comes out first. Light and fluffly pillows of goodness dressed in a silky butter sauce and topped with cracked black pepper. I run my ravioli over the plate absorbing as much of the sauce as possible.
Amatriciana with Fettuccine is served in a bowl with the tangy tomato sauce and salty pork jowl. The combination play well with eachother and create a dish that is a delight to the palate.
The beauty of Italy is that the wine never stops flowing. So another glass for the road please!
We complete our cooking course with certificates and Limoncello and take a nice long walk back to Charme.
A beautiful day ending the perfect way in Rome.