I was late.
As usual I got hopelessly lost, but was finally headed in the right direction thanks to a kind local’s directions. I picked up my pace, scanning the street signs looking for the right one. It wasn’t that far but knowing that I was behind schedule, it seemed like it took forever.
In the end I was only 10 minutes late, but I still felt awful. I had booked a pasta cooking class with Francesca for 5pm-8pm. Three pastas, three sauces, three hours. It was a lot to do and I felt horrible for being tardy.
But when I finally arrived my worries washed away as Francesca, or Magic Francesca as she is rightfully called, offered me a warm smile and welcomed me into her home.
An Italian cooking class, specifically a pasta one, was something I wanted to do for ages. I tried during my last visit to Rome to set something up but they were either fully booked or needed a group, not just one student. It was a bit depressing.
However, when BonAppetour and I first started talking, and I found out that part of their experiences involved cooking classes, I was all in. So when I found out I was going to be in Rome I quickly emailed the co-founders and asked if we could set something up. The answer was “Absolutely”.
I booked the How to Make Home Made Pasta (Fettuccine, Ravioli, Gnocchi) class with Magic Francesca, who already had great reviews, and after confirming my request and setting the time she sent me the menu for the day:
Fettuccine con funghi piselli e speck (Fettuccine with mushrooms, peas, and smoked ham)
Ravioli ricotta e spinachi al sugo leggero (Spinach and ricotta ravioli with onion, basil and tomato sauce)
Gnocchi al ragu bianco di manzo (Gnochi with a white beef sauce)
After my (late) arrival we got started right away. Francesca handed me an apron and set me washing the potatoes for the gnocchi. As we worked she explained the techniques and gave me little tips and hints. For example, she says red potatoes work best for gnocchi.
Francesca was quick to put me to work, allowing me to mix the pasta dough, crack eggs, cut the veggies, fill the raviolis, and make the fettuccine and gnocchi. But she was also always on hand to answer my questions and help out, constantly offering positive feedback and advice. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun and totally worth it.
We laughed a lot- from when I put my apron on inside out (oops), to my hot hands drying out the dough, and my slow veggie cutting skills; but that just made it more fun. I like to think I started off completely helpless but finished three hours later as, at least, a semi-adequate pasta cook. Or at least ravioli stuffer!
After three hours of cutting, kneading, and stirring dinner was ready; three massive bowls of delicious smelling pastas and wine to drink. Francesca is also an air B&B host (look her up- I wish I stayed!) so we were joined for dinner by her guests and her son which made the experience even better. One of the guests even decided to take part, and we had a blast together. It was a great afternoon of learning and cooking, followed by a delicious dinner with great company.
Taking this class with Francesca through BonAppetour was one of the highlights of my trip so far. Not only did I learn (finally) get to fulfill my wish of taking an Italian pasta cooking class, but it was a local and authentic experience in someone’s home and not just a tourist-trap workshop. I also loved that as a one on one, or even a small group, the attention and focus was on me and not divided among a large number of people. Call me attention-seeking but I’m a disaster in the kitchen and can use all the help I can get!
In the end I think it was a success! Not only did I have seconds (don’t judge me, it was good!), but so did almost everyone else. Throw in some compliments and you bet I was proud of myself and what I did with Francesca’s help. Now I just hope I can re-create it when I go home!
BonAppetour has dining experiences (not just cooking classes!) around the world so be sure to check online to find one near you!
My experience with BonAppetour is part of my ambassadorship, however all reviews, and awesome pasta skills, are my own.
*Please be aware that this post does include affiliate links which means should you choose to book through these sites, I will make a small commission in return.