While on our honeymoon in Italy, Brian and I were lucky enough to participate in a private Italian cooking class! This was by far my favorite part of the whole honeymoon. Honestly, though, everything was pretty amazing.
After resting most of the day because of too many cocktails the night before, Brian and I headed to Monterosso for our Italian cooking class. Our friends who recommended Angelo’s Boat Tour also recommended completing this cooking class, and I am SO happy they did!
We followed the directions to the house of the woman who was hosting us, climbing up several flights of stairs. In the Cinque Terre, they don’t have room to build new houses and buildings so they just stack everything on top of each other which means LOTS of stairs. Honestly, I didn’t mind the stairs one bit because of all of the treats we were eating 🙂
We arrived at the home of a friendly and beautiful Daniella, our instructor for the evening, around 4:30pm. She took us to the back area of her house and led us outside to her gorgeous outdoor kitchen patio.
All of the ingredients looked so vibrant and fresh and were sitting out, just waiting for us to prepare a meal with them.
Those are REAL San Marzano tomatoes!
Brian and I were both a little hungry, and luckily Daniella had a snack of tuna mousse, cucumbers, tomatoes, caper berries, and pita-like chips waiting for us. This tuna mousse had a very fresh lemony flavor and was just what we needed. I recreated this dish when I made this meal for Brian’s family, and it tasted exactly the way it did when Daniella made it. So summery!
After snacking, Daniella revealed what our dinner menu would be: Pesto Lasagna with homemade Pesto, baked fish Ligurian style, baked sardine and potatoes, roasted san marzano tomatoes and garlic, and we would end things with a lemon cake.
Because we were making our own pesto, we had to start by cleaning the basil…and there was a LOT of basil!
Daniella then explained how they used to make pesto in a mortar in pestle. Pesto actually originated in the Cinque Terre region, which is very cool! So it was very fitting to incorporate the tasty sauce into our meal.
Brian’s designated job for the night: cheese grater!
Once the ingredients were added to the mortar and pestle, I got to smashing away to create a small portion of pesto the “old fashioned” way. That was hard work!
We finished off the rest of the pesto in the food processor to save time.
We then assembled the pesto lasagna and got to work on the other dishes.
Pierro, Daniella’s husband, taught us how to prepare the fish dishes. He is originally from the Cinque Terre, and he has a family history in that region. He explained how locals would eat the fish dishes we prepared and helped us get everything ready to cook.
Those are sardines!! And they actually taste great 🙂
We then chopped our San Marzano tomatoes and layered them up in a stone pot to cook in the oven with an entire head of garlic. YUM!
Once everything was prepared, Brian and I sat on their deck and enjoyed a spritzer. Pierro explained that this was a popular Italian drink that many had before dinner. He simply combined Aperol, Prosecco, and an orange peel. So refreshing!
Brian and I enjoyed each other’s company and the gorgeous view, and the next thing we knew our food was being pulled out of the oven.
Isn’t the lasagna gorgeous!
I recreated this dish at home too, and it also turned out just like our cooking class version!
We started with our antipasti course: red pesto (we added sundried tomatoes) and arugula dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
As we enjoyed this first course, everything else started to come out of the oven too!
Take a look at the view from their patio. You can literally see every single village in the Cinque Terre from their porch. So pretty!!
After we enjoyed our pesto starter then lasagna, it was time to taste the baked fish and the roasted tomatoes. The fish was light, tender and absolutely amazing. The tomatoes were to die for! They were sweeter than any other tomatoes I have had, and they were the perfect partner to the tasty fish.
Next, it was time to try the sardine potato bake. This was also very yummy. They olive oil gave the dish almost a buttery flavor that made us both finish off our portion despite feeling a bit full.
To top things off, we ended our meal with a small piece of lemon cake topped with fresh cream, mint, and blackberries.
We honestly felt as if we were over at a friend’s house cooking dinner together! We ended up leaving their house around 10pm so that we could catch the train, but we could have easily stayed longer. This was a great way to experience some of the culture of the Cinque Terre in the comforts of a warm and welcoming home. Daniella and Pierro are wonderful hosts. If you are going to the Cinque Terre I would seriously recommend finding time to put this cooking class into your agenda 🙂
Thank you Daniella and Pierro!