Kathy and I and the Standly’s, who are traveling with us right now, share a common experience–we both tried to make homemade ravioli from scratch with terrible results. To remedy that situation, we went to Italian cooking school today on the Lido (a small island close to Venice). We boarded the vaporetto–the large water taxi that plies the big canals in Venice on a scheduled route–for the trip out to the island. We walked its quaint streets to the residential neighborhood where our class was to take place. It was a beautiful neighborhood where each house was a villa–large, stately and old. Marika, our instructor, is a culinary chef by training, but settled on the Lido to teach cooking. Her villa was remodeled for this purpose. The kitchen was a dream, every appliance imaginable. If you watch any of the food network cooking shows, this was her kitchen–built in flash freezer, built in sparkling water spout, commercial ice cream maker, commercial pasta dough maker, built in coffee machine that makes every coffee thing imaginable, etc. There were 12 students (England, Belgium, France, and Texas) and Marika and her three assistants and room for all to work. What a day!
We made Venetian vegetables tempura; ravioli with spinach and ricotta in a butter and sage sauce; potato and spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce; black Ligurian olive gnocchi with caramelized tomatoes and scampi; sgroppino veneziano (lemon sorbet ice cream mixture with prosecco wine). All of this was made from scratch and we all decided that we can come home and make ravioli with confidence. Yes, we did get to eat the labor of our hands and everyone agreed that what I made tasted the best 🙂 In fact, you could actually pick out which gnoccchi I made by hand from the serving bowl–they tasted so good–my secret–I didn’t wash my hands for three days beforehand 🙂
Below is the recipe for the sgroppino veneziano–serves 12. This is really good!
For the sorbet/ice cream (sorbet is not made with milk, but sgroppino is made like sorbet but with milk, thus making it ice cream like)
1 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
Juice of 3 organic lemons
Vanilla extract–whole vanilla bean in the hot milk, scraped and pod discarded
Melt the sugar in the milk that is warming on the stove. Add the vanilla bean and then add the cold heavy cream and then the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Stirring constantly, heat the mixture, but DO NOT BOIL. Scrape the inner vanilla bean and discard the pod–it is ok, in fact, preferred, to get the black vanilla beans in the mixture. (P.S. It will curdle a little and that is ok as it will dissolve as it mixes to freeze.) Place in an ice cream machine for at least 25 minutes or until softly frozen and then pour into a CHILLED container and place into a freezer.
For the liquid:
1 Tablespoon Absolute Lemon Vodka
1/4 Cup Prosecco Wine
1/3 Cup Sprite
Add the Prosecco, Vodka and Sprite to the frozen sorbet/ice cream and whisk with an electric blender to reach a smooth creamy consistency. It has to be creamy enough to drink. If too thick, add more Prosecco. Serve in a fluted glass.