Day 2 begins with a hasty espresso from the cafeteria. When I return to the states, I’m lobbying for an espresso bar and barista in our office. That little cup is more effective than Wellbutrin when an instant attitude adjustment is needed. Today, we’re tackling colored and filled pasta in countless varieties. Our first assignment involves producing the raw material needed for today’s class – colored pasta dough. My classmate and I are assigned yellow and green. Do you need turmeric or saffron to get that highlighter yellow color shown below? Neither, that’s just yolks from hardy, free-range Italian chickens. The other teams contribute dough in red, hot pink, cocoa, black, and chestnut.
Our instructor, Maestro Walter, is the most immaculately clean chef I’ve met and we tease him about his tidiness. He’s not a stereotypical, hot-blooded throwing pans chef. He exhibits an unruffled manner and quiet sense of humor. Melina, Manuelina’s Director, stands at his side, on hand to translate any tricky concepts. Maestro’s lessons are easy to follow except for an occasional and endearing confusion between the translation for “red” and “green”, which could result in a perplexing Paglia e Fieno (straw and hay pasta).
While the dough rests, we shift to producing a plethora of pasta fillings including pumpkin, pork and two versions of spinach. After lunch, we’re rolling, cutting and filling pasta for the balance of the afternoon. We request risotto for dinner.