Pulling on a chef’s apron in an atmosphere sprinkled with copper pots, towering bags of flour and marble-topped wooden tables could quickly give even a novice cook an over-confident culinary ego. After all, we were in the domain of European pasta king Giovanni Rana’s trattoria – it’s hard not to feel like you’re stepping into a world where gastronomical talent flows from everyone like olive oil.
The restaurant, which opened in November 2012 with a successful bang, has recently begun offering pasta-making classes, both for adults and a kid-friendly version. Animatedly led by the daughter-in-law of the legend, Antonella Rana, who also manages the lofty space, attendants make their dough from scratch, taking a rolling pin and pushing the dough into a see-through thin circle. The filling is then whipped up, with exact measurements already calculated out by the staff, and Rana guides the group through the artisanal process of hand-folding each pasta piece.
The pasta is then placed into take-home bags, with a fist of flour added for good measure, and thorough directions on how to cook them and recreate the recipe at home. After clean-up, we had the chance to dine on the chef’s versions of the masterpieces we just created — tortellinos perfectly molded and in their al dente prime, stuffed with spinach and ricotta, and prosciutto and braised beef – while ending the night with a little dolce in the form of chocolate pasta dusted with powdered sugar.
Buon appetite, indeed.