La Cucina Romana

CIRA Cooking School – ‘La Cucina Romana’ with Massimo Bianchi

CIRA (The Council Of Italian Restaurants In Australia) was started by 12 Italian-Australian restaurateurs for cultural and educational purposes, to promote the values of Italian food in Australia. Fortunately for us, CIRA has a cooking school with the best Italian chefs offering courses to the general public and specialized courses for students and the industry.
Massimo (ex Buon Ricordo, and about to open Uccello at Ivy) gave a very personal cooking course at the kitchen of Casa Barilla, next to a long communal dining table. The format was perfect – we learn one course, we sit down and enjoy it with wine, and then we move onto the next. One of the founding members Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo) was also there to offer his advice on truly authentic Italian cooking.

Fettuccine with prosciutto, pomodorini and pecorino
There is a common misconception that pasta can be cooked as soon as the water starts to boil. The water has to be violently boiling – and you can heavily salt it, not just a pinch, but enough so you can actually taste the salt in the water. Drain the pasta about a minute or two less than the packet instructions (if you taste it, it’s still slightly raw in the middle) because when you pour it back into the pan with sauce, it will keep cooking. Save a cup of the pasta water (as it is “starchier” than normal water) for the sauce later if it becomes too dry. But in Rome, the sauce can never be watery, it has to stick to the pasta and be as dry as possible.

Scottadito d’abbacchio alla Romana (Scottadito means ‘by the finger’; d’abbacchio is young lamb – lamb chops you can eat with your fingers)
True Italian cooking only requires you to slightly crush garlic bulbs with your palms. Brown them in olive oil until they’re almost burnt (dark brown) and remove them from the oil. There is no need to chop it up as the flavour in the oil is enough. Garlic that is cooked through also makes the food taste less heavy, compared to say, French food. The same goes for the Rosemary – put the entire sprig in the pan, cook, and then remove. Keep the pan at high heat at all times so the lamb doesn’t end up broiled.
When the lamb chops are ready, the remaining fat can be made into a beautiful creamy sauce (without the help of cream or butter) by reducing with some anchovies, wine and vinegar.

La Ricotta
Ricotta cheese – made into a pattie, dusted with flour, covered in egg wash and deep fried in Strutto/sugna (pure pig’s fat) until golden brown. Dusted with cinnamon and sugar, cholesterol never tasted so good. Served warm.
This is truly sinful - but it tastes somewhat light.

If anyone is interested in the recipes I can scan them (with my notes included) for you to download.

Tags: Barilla, CIRA, Cooking class, food, italian, ivy, lamb, Massimo Bianchi, pasta, pecorino, prosciutto, recipe, recipes, ricotta, uccello

Like my post? Spread it like butter!

Related posts

22 Comments to La Cucina Romana

  1. Jul 30, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    food looks awesome…
    serious food porn, im drooling at my office desk.. ^ ^;

  2. Jul 30, 2008 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    aww damn. I love italian food. wonder what that ricotta tastes like…

  3. Jul 30, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    i’m interested in the lamb recipe. i’m always looking for food lamb tastes! congrats on being #2!!

  4. Jul 30, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    ooo I’d love the pasta recipe!

  5. Jul 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    O man… I feel like cooking… my favorite favors from Italian cooking is rosemary and garlic. YUM!

  6. Jul 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I am interested in the lamb & pasta recipe.!….uh…I should never read your entry before my meal…now my lunch looks so plain….

  7. Jul 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    oh wow. thanks for all the tips! and I agree with corolla1209.. my lunch doesn’t look half as appetizing anymore xP

  8. Jul 30, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Please scan your recipes!  :D

  9. Jul 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    congrats on the 2nd place win! would you like your year of premium now or later? haha

  10. Jul 30, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I’d love the pasta recipe and the ricotta recipe… Both look so self-indulging… I would love to try them!

  11. Jul 30, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    omg….drools lamb chop….;lasjdf;ls FACK…u just spoiled my appetite -_-

  12. Jul 30, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    who needs culinary school when we have….TA-DA!


  13. Jul 30, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    you have one of the weirdest xangas in xanga land.

  14. Jul 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    that Fettuccine with prosciutto, pomodorini and pecorino looks delicious. i found a recipe online but would appreciate your recipe…Thanks!

  15. Jul 30, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    @pinksoda117 - 

    @LLindy - 

    @corolla1209 - 

    @KyohakuMegami - 

    @altoidaddict88 - 

    here is the download link to the recipes – enjoy!

  16. Jul 30, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    ooooh so this is what you made in class? looks yummy A.

  17. Jul 31, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    ooo thanks!

  18. Aug 1, 2008 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    ooh thanks for the recipe! your pictures make me hungry!

  19. Aug 1, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    cheese! heck yes!

  20. Aug 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    it does look sinful. it probably would come into existence as a heart attack. cheese and grease are a killer mixture.

  21. Aug 3, 2008 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    omg I’m starving right now! What an experience it must have been to watch these amazing people at work.

    If you can, may I please request that you scan your notes. My bf loves to cook and read about cooking so I want to give it to him. =)

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Aug 5, 2008 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Now I remember why I’m not supposed to look at food pics at 2:20am 

  1. By on Sep 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Stay up to date with my new posts, freshly delivered by email

What I'm doing right now (via Twitter)