Narrowing down the “To Do List” when on vacation in Italy is always a tough one for me…too much to do, so little time there…but one of my favorite things “to do” is to take a cooking class at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine in Lucca. This was the second time we took a class, with the first one completed a year ago. (Or shall I say, one of us completed that first class while the other one of us paid for that class – then proceeded to take over 400 photographs of the class in action….) Needless to say, both of us had a blast!
Our class this year consisted of us cooking lunch first, then a local baker (“Angelo”) came to the school to teach us how to make “pane”, better known as “bread” to the rest of us.
Let me tell you about lunch first:
Wade learned to make bechamel sauce! How fun is that? Now there are NO excuses for dinner being made, right?! After much stirring and whisking, he had the most perfect sauce ever.
And here’s the proof!
Next, we used that bechamel sauce in the most magnificent way ever – we steamed “spinaci” (spinach), put it evenly in the bottom of an 11 x 17 buttered (quite heavily, I might say…Paula Deen would be pleased…) glass dish, and here is where the magic happened….
Eight little “nests” were made in the spinach at even intervals. Sauce was placed in each “nest”, grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of that, and then an egg cracked in each nest. On top of that went more sauce, more parmessan cheese, and – here’s the MAGIC – truffle salt on top of that…wow is right! The rest of the bechamel went around the outside edge of the dish. Then, in the oven for about 5-6 minutes (depending on how you like your eggs cooked) and served hot.
Talk about flavor town in your mouth!
Simple ingredients, as fresh as they come, and a plate even Popeye would eat and then ask for seconds.
We’ll be making this dish soon at home (especially since Wade is an expert bechamel maker) and we’ll do a little “Here vs. There” photo fest to show you if we can pull it off as well as we did in Italy.