Look Ma! I’m on TV!
Repost from March 6, 2014:
I was recently invited to learn how to cook a few Italian dishes at the recently opened Al Bacio Ristorante on Sunset. I attended their opening late 2013 and chef Simionato kindly invited me back to cook with him in his kitchen. It’s the kind of restaurant where the chef works both the back and the front of the house, always making sure you are not only well fed, but comfortable. He is a master of the kitchen and during this intimate class, I got to work with him up close and learn some real tips from the pro.
In chef Simionato’s cooking class, guests have the opportunity to learn authentic Italian cooking with the chef in the actual working kitchen of the restaurant. This intimate class takes the intimidation out of cooking, showing just how fun and easy it can be to make sophisticated Italian dishes. It’s one part demo, one part hands-on and it really helped me appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Chef Simionato has just a two-person kitchen and the space is pretty small, so you can just imagine how much skill and swiftness is needed to feed a full house.
We learned the secret to making soft and tender octopus and also made fresh tagliatelle pasta in a veal bolognese sauce. In addition, we learned how to make gelato and a traditional Italian apple tart cake that is so delicious and ridiculously simply to make.
Learning, watching, doing… sipping Prosecco (of course!) and snacking on fresh Parmesan. After about 2 hours in the kitchen, our cooking class wrapped up with a sit down feast with all the food we learned how to make.
One of his restaurant partners had just returned from Italy and surprised us with super fresh burratta direct from the mother country. It was a silky and creamy treat!
If you are a true food fan and love to cook, this class is a fantastic experience. The next class is scheduled for March 16th and the menu changes regularly. Follow Al Bacio on Facebook to get the latest updates and class schedule. Or simply visit Al Bacio for a authentic Italian dinner or lunch.
Update: As of July 2015 Al Bacio has quietly shuttered its doors. I had some truly memorable meals there and the restaurant will be missed!! Don’t worry though, chef Christian tells me he is cooking up another top notch restaurant concept very soon. Until then, try this super easy, homemade pasta recipe to fill that pasta craving (see below).
Click through below to see the slideshow from our class and read on for his tagliatelle bolognese recipe!
Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta
Courtesy of Chef Christian Simionato
- 750 gr whole wheat semolina flour
- 750 gr “00” flour
- 325 gr fresh egg yolk
- 325 gr water
- 5 gr extra vergine olive oil
- Splash of vinegar
On a clean bowl put flour and form a well in the center. Add egg yolks and water to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolks and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead for 10 minutes. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 3 pieces. Cover 2 pieces with plastic wrap. Flatten remaining dough piece so that it will fit through the rollers of a pasta machine.
Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine.
Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting, one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is scant 1/16 inch thick.
Cut sheet in half widthwise; dust both sides of sheets with flour. Layer sheets between floured pieces of parchment or wax paper. Cover with paper and repeat with remaining dough.
With the short end of 1 pasta sheet facing you, loosely fold up sheet, folding sheet over two or three times from short ends toward the center. With a large chefs knife, cut folded sheet into ribbons, a scant 1/4 inch wide. Unroll strips and lightly dust with flour; spread on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets.
Veal Bolognese Sauce
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 100gr pancetta or slab bacon, ground by butcher or thinly sliced and pulsed in food processor until finely chopped
- 1000gr ground veal
- 250gr tomato sauce
- 200gr whole milk
- 200gr dry white wine
- Vegetable stock
- fresh thyme, bay leaves
Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add pancetta, veal and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.
Add white wine and let it evaporate.
Salt and pepper the meat, add the rest of the ingredients, thyme and bay leaves and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.