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Broncos Abroad

Learning Sure Tastes Good

I’m a student again. And I have to admit, being a student is kind of fun.  While in Viterbo I am taking three classes – Sociology of Food, Italian Cuisine Introductory Aperitivo, and Introduction to Italian (aka – Italian survival).  So far I’ve enjoyed all three, yet the Cuisine Introductory Aperitivo is the tastiest.  If you haven’t guessed, this is an Italian cooking class. Seeing how I’m not exactly a renowned chef, going into this class was a bit scary.

To date I “survived” two classes.  The first class was an introduction to the five weeks.  Our instructor Renée Abou Jaoudé – who is not only a pastry chef, but also has a Ph.D. in forest ecology – outlined the class. We ate a variety of antipasto dishes, which are basically appetizers, as we listened. Apparently, we will learn about foods from four regions in Italy, and of course cook some dishes from each.  I think this is a great idea since I am more of a hands-on learner.

In our first cooking class we learned about Roman Cuisine and prepared a prima (first course), secondo (second course) and a dolce (desert). The prima was carbonara. This dish was easier than I thought to make, but required some skill.  When you see scrambled eggs in a carbonara, then you know it was poorly prepared. Due to Chef Renee’s cooking chops, ours turned out perfectly.

Our carbonara! Tastes as good as it looks.

Next up the secondo – which was saltimbocca alla romana, I’m not sure, but I believe that roughly translates to “jump in your mouth” or something like that. It is basically thinly sliced beef with a slice of prosciutto and gently then cooked.

Saltimbocca alla romana. Those green leaves are sage. I’m going to try this with the sage at home.

Finally, we baked the cheese and cherry tart. This required making a shortbread crust. It was easy, but did not realize that temperature could impact the results. Well, the results turned out yummy.

Chef Renee preparing the custard for our tart. She makes it look easy.

My four other classmates and I had a little extra to take home.  I think this took some serious will-power. I can’t wait to see what we cook up next.

My cooking classmates – Tina, Reagan, Alex, and Amy – working on a dish. As you can tell we are working hard.

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