The Best Florence Cooking Class: 4 Recipes to Make at Home

Rotary Pasta Cutter

“Why don’t you learn how to cook?” had been my mother’s line for as long as I can remember. Being the least domesticated one in my family, it wasn’t a surprise that I did so horribly in Home Ec classes in high school. I barely made it through that class by failing miserably in making a cream puff that was inedible and making a pair of summer pants with one leg longer than the other. I did make a pillow that held together that I was proud of. Fast forward many years, and now that I travel, I make a purposeful effort to take cooking classes wherever I go. Better late than never! Here are four recipes you can make at home from the best Florence cooking class run by Chefactory.

Rotary Pasta Cutter

Chefactory – Florence Cooking Class

Why choose a Florence cooking class from Chefactory? Lots of reasons, but the number one reason is that this school is the passion project of Chef Francesco Arancio. With over 20 years of experience in the global culinary industry, Francesco strives to spread Italian food traditions to every Chefactory visitor. His team promotes healthy food while focusing on using raw materials in the most sustainable ways possible with minimal amounts of waste. You can sign up at Chefactory to learn how to make a variety of Italian dishes, like pizza and gelato, make a family dinner, take a market tour, and of course, learn how to make pasta.

Fresh Handmade Pasta Cooking Class

Chef Francesco explaining how to roll pasta

When in Italy, you have to learn how to make pasta. I was so glad to find this last-minute cooking class to sign up. Our Chef Francesco spent a lot of time going through the basics of making fresh pasta and using a pasta maker. I never thought about how the pasta got made that I was eating. When the pasta sheet passes through the rollers, the machine flattens or stretches the pasta, depending on the setting selected for the thickness, creating a thin to a thick strip of dough to be formed into the pasta desired. I learned that to make ravioli, you need to feed the pasta sheet through the smooth rollers 5-6 times until the pasta sheet is long and regular in shape.

Fresh Pasta Recipe

Making fresh pasta

Ingredients:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) of flour whatever the type
  • 55g (1/4 cup) of liquid egg or water

Preparation:

  1. Put the liquid or egg in the center of the flour and mix well until you can knead with your hands.
  2. Let the dough stand outside the refrigerator for 20 minutes when it is smooth and elastic.
  3. After 20 minutes, cover both sides of the pasta with a dusting of flour.
  4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  5. Set the pasta maker adjustment knob to 0 and pass the dough through just once
  6. Then, set the adjustment knob to 2 and pass the dough through, and so on until a thickness 6. You may have to fold the dough to keep it within the width of the machine.
  7. Fold the dough back together and re-route the dough back through the 0-2-4-6 on the machine.
  8. Keep doing this until you get the desired thickness and length.

Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach

Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach

I am not a fan of cooked spinach; it always seemed too mushy, and having it raw in a salad was preferable. A lesson learned while traveling is that I was a texture-based eater. I always thought I was just too picky, but traveling and having to eat other foods around the world has open me up to being willing to try new foods. And after learning how to make it myself, I was willing to try the spinach and ricotta ravioli.

Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach Recipe

Adding Ricotta and Spinach to the Fresh Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 200g (1 cup) fresh ricotta cheese
  • 150g (3/4 cup) fresh spinach
  • 60g (1/2 cup) parmesan cheese
  • Spoonful of cornstarch
  • Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
  • Fresh pasta

Preparation for the Spinach and Ricotta filling:

  1. Put spinach in a sauté pan with white wine, salt, and pepper. Sauté until wilted.
  2. Drain the spinach and make sure all the moisture is out.
  3. Chop finely.
  4. Add to the ricotta.
  5. Mix spinach, ricotta, parmesan cheese, and corn starch with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
  6. With the filling finished, put a teaspoon of filling inside the pasta and close the ravioli.

Preparation to make the Ravioli:

  1. Just put the filling in the center with the distance of two fingers from ball to ball.
  2. Close the pocket and make sure all the air is out.
  3. Cut if you want using a rotary pasta cutter or a metal circle, about 8 cm wide, to cut out circles of the pasta.
  4. Cook for 6 minutes.
  5. Mix with the desired sauce and serve hot.
Single dish of Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach

Farmer Chicken

Farmer Chicken

One of the chefs cooked the chicken for us while we prepped all the ingredients to save time during our Florence cooking class. The instructors were multi-tasking while we worked on making the other dishes for our dinner.

Farmer Chicken Recipe

Cooking Farmer Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken 600g (1.323 lb) already cut
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 glass of balsamic vinegar
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sage
  • Oil EVO, Butter

Preparation:

  1. In a frying pan, melt oil and butter on low heat.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and pass the chicken through the flour.
  3. Cut the onions and the pepper into strips.
  4. Take the chicken and fry it first on one side, flip and fry the other side, and add onion and pepper.
  5. Blend with the balsamic vinegar, add a glass of water and sage and lower the fire.
  6. Cover and cook for another 25 minutes.
  7. Serve with onion and peppers as a condiment.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) chocolate (white or dark)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml (3.4 oz) cream
  • 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
Putting Chocolate Mousse into little cups

Preparation:

  1. Separate the eggs
  2. Mount separately with a bit of sugar
  3. Whip the cream.
  4. Melt the chocolate in bain-marie, to heat chocolate gently
  5. Add chocolate to the whipped yolk at room temperature and fold in.
  6. Then fold in the whipped cream and the whipped egg white.
  7. Fill small containers with the mixture.
  8. Option: Sprinkle cocoa on top
  9. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  10. Serve.
Adding the Cocoa Powder on top of the Chocolate Mousse

Homecooked Italian Meal

Eating our home cooked meals

After learning how to make and prepare the dishes in our Florence cooking class, we got to eat our spoils. Chefactory has a dining room set up where all the people from the multiple cooking classes going on at the same time can eat what they made together. The tables are set with wine glasses, and it is quite the festive atmosphere after everyone has finished cooking and sat down to eat. The food was spectacular, and I was so proud of myself for making this wonderful meal. I think it does make a difference when you make it yourself.

Summary

Heather with Chef Francesco

After spending five weeks eating my way through Italy during the summer, I’m so glad to have learned how to make my favorite dishes at home. The Florence Cooking Class gave me great insight into Italian cooking and how putting love into my food made it much better. Now, I only need a pasta maker, and then I’m all set. Have you made homemade pasta before?

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Further Reading

If you are exploring Missouri and Southern Illinois for the holidays, check out these posts for extra travel inspiration:

If you are exploring Italy or looking for other cooking classes on your travels, check out these posts for extra travel inspiration:

3 Comments

  • Anthony 15June2022 at 2:23 PM Reply

    That place was awesome. We were there last month as the last thing we did in Italy.
    We made the Ravioli as well, but made Panna Cotta for the desert and a beer fettuccini for the other food.

    • Heather 15June2022 at 2:38 PM Reply

      That is so cool, that you took a cooking class with them. Did you have Chef Franseco teaching you?

      • Anthony 15June2022 at 3:10 PM Reply

        We did not have Chef Franseco, he was at the tables next to us.

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