A Pasta Class in the Florence Countryside: Making Homemade Pasta with Luca and Lorenzo
If you're looking for an authentic Italian cooking experience, look no further than Luca and Lorenzo's pasta class. This is a must-do activity if you're visiting Florence – you'll get to learn how to make homemade pasta from scratch, using all local ingredients. We had a small group of 10 people, and we all enjoyed learning about Italian cuisine and the food culture. We cooked two types of pasta – spinach and ricotta tortelloni in a butter sage sauce, and fettuccine with a puttanesca sauce. The wine pairings were amazing, and we all had a great time!
Booking the Class
While planning our trip to Florence, I originally found this pasta-making class while looking for activities to do through Airbnb experiences. I'm so glad I decided to book it – it was an unforgettable experience. If you're looking for a fun and interactive way to spend an afternoon in Florence, I would highly recommend this class! You can find it through Airbnb or you can also book directly through them (which if preferred!) Just be sure to book it in advance since the intimate experience fills up pretty fast.
For the class, we met at the Florence Train Station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) at 9:00 am, and met everyone we were taking the class with along with Luca. He lead us to the train and after a few short stops and some ice breakers, we arrived at the station closest to their home. There, we met up with Lorenzo and two other guests who drove themselves. The group was pretty divided between couples and friend duos and was from all across America with a couple from Australia. From the train, Luca and Lorenzo drove us all to their home.
When we pulled up, we were greeted with spectacular views of the Chianti hills, Florence in the distance, and their home which was nestled in between. Luca started by giving us a tour of their home where they get fresh eggs from their chickens, along with their ducks. They owned a couple of cats and dogs, but they were inside the house so they wouldn't interfere with the cooking. We began the class by making the dessert first, which was tiramisu with a fun twist.
Tiramisu is classically made by dipping ladyfingers in espresso, but Luca and Lorenzo decided to switch it up by using a different type of cookie and liquor since typically tiramisu has to sit overnight for the flavors to set. We started by dipping cantuccini, a type of almond biscotti, in Marsala wine. Then we separated the eggs and mixed the yolks with sugar until it was a light yellow color. We mixed the whites with sugar as well and set them aside after they were stiff enough to flip upside down without them moving. They made sure to indicate that the eggs should always be at room temperature before whipping them. Next, we added mascarpone cheese to the yolks and mixed it until it was light and fluffy.
After that, we took turns folding the whites into the mixture being careful not to deflate them. We then added a few scoops of the mascarpone cream over the biscotti and gently tapped out the air bubbles. We refrigerated it for later before adding the cocoa powder.
Making the Pasta Filling
While the tiramisu was setting, we moved on to making the pasta filling. We used their family recipe for spinach and ricotta tortelloni, but you could use any type of filling you want. For this dish, we mixed together ricotta cheese, parmesan, and steamed/boiled spinach. This was probably the easiest part of the whole process since it was so simple and almost impossible to screw up.
Starting the Pasta
For the pasta-making portion, we went inside their home where Lorenzo had all the ingredients we needed set up at our own stations. We started by making the dough from scratch. We added flour to a mound on our counter and made a well in the center. We then cracked eggs into the well and used a fork to scramble them before slowly mixing in the flour until it became too difficult with a fork. At that point, we ditched the fork and used a pastry cutter and our hands to mix it until it became a sticky ball. We then added a little more flour to our counter and kneaded the dough for about ten minutes until it became smooth. Lorenzo then had us wrap it in a plastic bag and set it aside so the gluten could relax.
Making the Puttanesca Sauce
While the dough was resting, we moved on to making the sauces in the kitchen. We started with the classic puttanesca sauce which is made with tomatoes, olives, and capers. We began by frying up the garlic cloves for a bit and then removing it for a slight hint of garlic flavor. Then Lorenzo added the capers and olives and began crushing some of them in the sauce. He added a few jars of their home-canned tomato puree that they made each year with their neighbors. He let the sauce simmer while we moved back to shaping the pasta.
Forming the Tortelloni and Fettuccine
We started with the tortelloni since they take a little longer. We rolled out the dough until it was thin enough to see through and then used a rolling cutter to make small squares. Rolling out the dough was actually a pretty difficult task and I was surprised at how large the piece of dough was at the end of it. We then added a small spoonful of filling to each circle before folding diagonally and then bringing the two ends together to make a little bundle. We set them aside until we were ready to cook them.
For the fettuccine, we took the leftover cut-off pieces from the tortelloni and used a traditional chitarra to form the Fettuccine. It looked a lot like a harp with wires running horizontally and vertically. Lorenzo showed us how to press the dough through the wires to get long, noodle-like strips. We then bunched them into little nests and placed them on a drying rack.
Cooking and Serving the Pasta
We started by frying up some garlic in the same way and then adding the sage leaves. We let them fry until they became crispy and then removed them for later. Next, we added lots of butter to the pan and let it melt down. We stirred that around for a bit until it became bubbly and added some lemon zest and pepper for flavor.
We boiled a pot of water and added salt before cooking the tortelloni for a few minutes. While this went on, Luca and Lorenzo talked about their families, classic Italian cooking, and their experience with food. They come from different areas in Italy and had a history of working in the fashion industry before moving to Florence and starting this business. After some laughs and joking around with the group, they strained the tortelloni and placed them in a butter sage sauce. While Luca plated the pasta, Lorenzo finished the Fettuccine and puttanesca.
The pasta was incredible. I've had homemade pasta before, but never anything like this. The Fettuccine was cooked perfectly and went so well with the puttanesca sauce. The tortelloni was light and fluffy with a creamy filling that paired well with the butter sage sauce. We enjoyed eating around their outdoor patio table with everyone, along with a few bottles of red wine. We also finished off the tiramisu that we made earlier. Then Luca and Lorenzo drove us back to the train station and we made our way back to Florence just around 3:30 pm. So we had plenty of time to explore the city for the rest of the day.
It was such a fun experience and I'm so glad we did it. If you're ever in Florence, I would highly recommend taking a pasta-making class with Luca and Lorenzo. Not only will you learn how to make pasta from scratch, but you'll also get a delicious meal and some great wine out of it. Buon appetito! If you're not planning on heading to Italy just yet, you can also find all their recipes on their youtube channel and throughout their Instagram!
Have you ever taken a cooking class while traveling? Or made homemade pasta before? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!