Cooking Class at Casa Nonna DC

A week ago Olga from Mango and Tomato invited me to attend a cooking class at Casa Nonna. I have been to Casa Nonna a few times for dinner and once for a food blogger dessert tour. When I went for the dessert tour, we ordered every single dessert, and I can say that we were not disappointed. They have inventive ice creams and sorbets that are unexpected and delicious.

When we arrived at Casa Nonna for the cooking class, we were greeted with a refreshing Bellini and a beautiful board of salumi that included coppa, prosciutto, and soppressata. The coppa and soppressata are made in-house.

We sat on the long semi-circular bar by the pizza ovens. The ambiance was casual and convivial. We started off by getting the dough together for the pasta, that would end up being long strips of pappardelle.

The class was more of a cooking demo than a hands on class. We did have the opportunity to participate if we wanted. Here some class attendants help in rolling out the pasta dough.

Chef Amy Brandwein shows us the quail after they were roasted in the 600°F oven. The quail was then shredded and became the star of the ragu sauce that was served with the pappardelle.

Here Chef Amy demonstrates how to assemble the spiedini. They consisted of chunks of hanger steak, pancetta, chicken liver, thick croutons, poached apples, spring onions, and sage leaves.

Here the sous chef seasons the spiedini before placing in the oven.

This is the gorgeous wood oven, the wood really imparted wonderful flavor to the dishes.

During the cooking demo, we snacked on crostini, mixed olives, the salumi board, and we enjoyed Bellinis and coffee. We then moved to a long table, where we were served the dishes we had just made family style. We were also served wine with our lunch.

Another thing we made was “la ribollita,” a Tuscan bean soup with kale, vegetables, and bread. This was our first course.

The soup was flavorful and filling. Most of us had two helpings, it was so delicious!

The pappardelle with quail ragu was an amazing dish. The sauce was luscious, and the quail was tender and succulent. This dish has really persuaded me to try making pasta at home, the difference in taste and texture makes it really worth the extra work.

The spiedini was my favorite dish. The hanger steak and liver were perfectly cooked, and the fat from the pancetta kept all the ingredients moist and helped them to brown beautifully.

The spiedini were sprinkled with vin cotto before serving. The vin cotto is dark and sweet, and really complements the hanger steak and the chicken liver in the spiedini.

We were also served side dishes of peas with pancetta and garlic and beans.

Finally, we enjoyed dessert. Casa Nonna’s pastry chef showed us how to make panforte senese, a classic dessert from Sienna. The panforte senese is a dense and heavy fruitcake made with nuts, candied citrus peel, cocoa, spices, and honey. I’ve had panforte senese before, and it has never been to my liking. This one was different, although it was dense, it was not too sweet and it had just the right amount of citrus peel. I loved it, I think it was great because it was freshly baked and was served with hazelnut ice cream.

Casa Nonna will be offering these dishes, and others from the Tuscany region, on Sundays throughout the month of April. The dishes are served family style. I highly recommend the pappardelle with quail ragu, the spiedini, and the panforte senese.

To get more information about Casa Nonna’s regional cooking classes visit their website. I had a great time with Olga, and I’m so grateful that she invited me to join her. Check out her post about the class here.

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Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

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