When it comes to New York City, Manhattan is the center. It's only one of five boroughs. The other boroughs are Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island and referred to as "the outer boroughs". Staten Island a bridge or ferry ride away is what I would call, "The Outer-outer Borough".
I decided to do some local press trips on this forgotten island and came across an Italian Cultural Foundation, Casa Belvedere (house with a beautiful view), a NYC historic landmark. The view is of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the NYC Harbor.
Although they offer much on Italian heritage, I was checking out the Italian Culinary Classes. Carole Gervasi is the owner of a company called Delish Dishes as well as the instructor for these cooking classes.
I decided to take a few with Sauces as the first. I was joined by five other women, four of which were from Staten Island and one from Queens. As we began the lesson, each of us was given a task. Mine was to chop shallots. One person was chopping onions. Another was separating eggs. Chopping olives had a bit more of a task as many were not pitted. Then there was "squeezing the canned tomatoes" and another chopping the pancetta...and, needless to say...chopping up the garlic.
The Classic Carbonara Sauce contained: pancetta, eggs, grated Parmigian-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano; fresh cracked pepper, shallots and sea salt. Puttanesca Sauce: extra virgin olive oil; chopped onions; fresh garlic; crushed tomatoes, pitted olives; sea salt, wine; and grated Parmesan.
Ragu Sauce (not to be confused with a jar of the brand name): canned whole peeled tomatoes; extra virgin olive oil; onion; salt/pepper; meat (in this case, brasciole). Lastly was an Alfredo Sauce (heart attack over pasta): pint of heavy cream; a stick of butter; cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Sauces being cooked it was time to make the pastas (versus dipping bread or just eating spoonfuls).
As we sipped our wine in the kitchen taking in the lesson and participating, Yvonne McGrath, Theresa Dombrowski, Diana Cerullo, Paula Cenci, Pat Schwimer and I chatted about cooking, Italian heritage, Polish heritage, and family. We each got a great apron as part of the deal, which helped in not only preparation but when we sat down to indulge in the outcome.
We also met Franceso Fadda, Director of Development for Casa Belvedere. Expansion is going on to include a new kitchen. Carole is pleased and an excellent instructor.
While the other ladies were getting a tour of the mansion (not good at climbing stairs any more) I walked about the rooms on the first floor and took photos.
I'm going back next week to take a class on Easter. I don't celebrate it. I just want to learn how to make Pizza Rustica, Manicotti and Spaghetti Pie. Stayed tuned.