Recipe testing begins!!!!
I am still very much hoping that I can turn the 'interested' into the 'committed' for the first Casa Lucia course starting on April 9th. If you haven't quite made up your mind yet, why not take the plunge and book up? I promise you a fantastic week of food, cooking and local flavours in Le Marche.
I have to admit, that despite being very immersed in the local Italian food and on the constant look-out for people and places to add to the Casa Lucia stable, one thing I haven't done as much of as I could/should have is make my own pasta. If you've never made your own pasta before, let me tell you, it will be a revelation......the texture and flavour just can't be matched by dried pasta. Also, I think I would be so bold as to say that somehow, the Itlaian ingredients yield even better pasta in Italy than they do in the UK. I used to buy high quality '00' flour and only ever used free range eggs, but I am convinced that my pasta here is better than any I ever made when in England. The same goes for my bread......
I have asked a few of my local friends about the phenomenon and they are in agreement, the flours here are almost always local, the eggs too and somehow, cooking them close to the land they come from just gives a better result!!!! So, even if you can make pasta in your sleep, I promise you it will be a different experience at Casa Lucia and the accompanying ingredients will raise your skills to a whole new level.
So, I made some ragu - using the best quality butcher's sausages and I also made some tortellini with ricotta and herbs, (growing wild in my garden) and (getting a little carried away), I also made a delicious walnut sauce with nuts from a friend's tree - hand-picked and much tougher to crack than usual, but tasty, with a deep, woody tang. The walnut sauce is very typical of Le Marche and there are as many versions as there are cooks, but it combines toasted and crushed walnuts with breadcrumbs, lots of olive oil, (we have a supply from our own trees), pecorino cheese, garlic and parsley.
Why not come and try it all out for yourself? Look at casalucia.org for much more info about what to expect when you're here.