Posted by: Rachel | November 26, 2013

how to learn Italian (part 2)

After we left Matera (Oh, are you just joining us? I’m raving on about my recent trip to Puglia, Italy), we headed for the coast. We stayed for a few days in a masseria, specifically Masseria Montelauro and the first morning I opted take a cooking class.

Chef Vito working the pasta dough

work it, baby…

What fun!

Very hands-on, and Chef Vito (yes, really) was an excellent teacher. We made pasta (no big surprise I guess), three different shapes from one dough, we made panzerotti ( a sort of deep fried empanada or calzone) stuffed with Caprese (mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil), we made a fish soup (words fail, it was so good) and we made a ricotta torta. Mmmmm…

Timing was everything – we didn’t waste a minute. Chef chopped up the tomatoes for the soup and got that going while we started on the filling for the ricotta torta (tart). Once the soup was simmering and the tart was baking we made the pasta… very organized but there was plenty of time for questions (and tastes).

But we were on a mission – we needed to get everything finished so we could have it for lunch! Oh I say again, mmmmmm!!

We made one of our pasta “forms” using a “chitara”.chitara for cutting pasta

You just roll the dough out fairly thin then lay it on the chitara (guitar) and roll over it with a rolling pin. The tight metal “strings” of the chitara make perfect strips and the strips drop into the box below. Brilliant!

The dough (roughly)
1/2 cup each semolina and AP white flour
1/4 cup water (or more if needed)

Mix together and knead until elastic. Let rest. Roll out into desired shapes or cut as desired.

Cook for just a few minutes in boiling salted water. Drain, sauce as desired, and enjoy! This makes enough to serve one or two depending on which course it is and how many miles you cycled that day…

After the soup simmered for maybe 1/2 hour, Chef gently fished the fish out of the finished soup, served the fish as one course and used the broth to sauce the cooked pasta. It was heavenly!

slice of ricotta tart


We finished lunch with that ricotta torta. Mmmmmm… Its something I love and I will say that Chef’s recipe and mine are pretty close.

If you’re interested in making it, you can find my recipe here. It is pretty simple and you can change it up if you like. The one we made in class had a lattice top crust, and mine involves mini chocolate chips which the Italian version didn’t, but the basics are the same.

I’m full just reading about this lunch and hungry at the same time. I’m going to go find something to eat! Have a fine week and we’ll move on to a different part of the coast next time! Mmmm…



  1. No egg in the pasta dough?

  2. Oh you lucky, lucky lady! Jealous…me?!

    • I am lucky – what fun it was! Mmmm…

  3. Wish we could have joined you!

    • Me too – miss you guys! Next time…

  4. It sounds like you had a terrific time…welcoming people, delicious food and beautiful countryside.

    • It was wonderful and the people were the best, so kind and patient! I’d go back in a heartbeat!

      • My husband and I have experience the same warmth and generosity of complete strangers while traveling in Europe.

  5. This looks like heaven to me! You have just lived my dream vacation. I am enjoying your posts and recipes very much!

    • Thanks! Yes, it was dreamy 😉

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