Cooking is a wonderful skill to have, one that creates a special relationship between you and your food. Creating delicious and beautiful meals from scratch is equal parts science and art. Luckily, cooking doesn’t have to be a talent you are born with. You can easily learn to be a great cook and to fall in love with this fun yet practical hobby. Italian cuisine is a great place to start because it is mouthwatering comfort food that centers around a pantry staple: pasta!
La Tavola Marche on YouTube
La Tavola Marche originates at a farm, an inn, and a cooking school in Italy. It offers a unique culinary experience whereby you actively participate in Italian culture through seasonal activities paired with local artisans, farmers, and wine makers while staying in a 500 year-old agriturismo farmhouse. They also offer a completely free YouTube channel with hour-long cooking classes as well as other fun videos about Italy.
The full-length videos include classic Italian recipes as well as cooking styles. This particular one has close to 5,000 views and features Verdure Gratinate, Pasta alla Norcina and Caffè Moretta. The channel also offers shorter videos on more specific skills such as making Italian coffee, how to cut fresh pasta by hand and a short lesson on Italian sausage making. The channel has almost 2,000 subscribers, and most of the comments are rave reviews!
Handmade Pasta with Grandma
It is a scientific, universal fact that grandmothers are the best cooks. “Handmade Pasta with Grandma” is an AirBnB Experience hosted just outside of Rome, where visitors learn to make pasta from scratch under the guidance of a real Italian grandma! With reviews such as, “This was one of the best experiences of my life,” this cooking class went online.
Eighty-four-year-old Nonna Nerina offers these amazing 2-hour classes for $60, though you can get a 25% off coupon by subscribing for email updates. The price is per stream, so you can enjoy the class with friends and family as long as you are watching from the same device. The classes with Nerina take place on weekends only, although one of her granddaughters, Chiara Nicolanti, hosts weekday classes.
A week before your class, you’ll receive a list of ingredients to buy and any utensils you may need to cook with. The classes include cooking ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, fettuccine and cannelloni.
Gina Petitti on YouTube
Grandmothers are rocking today’s modern world of technology. Gina Petitti was born in 1935 in Faeto, Italy. Her family ran a farm in Italy where she met her husband, Vito. In 1970 Gina, Vito, and her four children immigrated to the United States. Today, Gina lives in New Jersey and spends her time cooking up a storm and sharing her wonderful skills with the world! Specifically, with almost 400,000 subscribers!
Gina has 65 recipes on her channel, and they all feature a specific dish. Most of her recipes were passed on by her mother or picked up while living in Italy. However, they have evolved over time. Her channel offers everything you could possibly imagine from stuffed cabbage, tiramisu, fresh pesto, fish fillet and even veal scallopini. Her first ever video was uploaded five years ago, and it is a class about making pizza and bread!
The Great Courses Plus
This website is a great resource full of classes that will teach you new skills. It includes classes in cooking, crafting, finance, history, American sign-language, art and so much more. They have a great category for cooking that offers basics such as how to cook vegetables as well as a course specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. The Great Courses Plus also has a section on beer and wine, including an amazing course called The Instant Sommelier: Choosing the Best Wine.
While this is a paid website, it only costs $19 a month if you pay monthly or only $10 a month if you pay every three months upfront. This means that you can get three months for $30. Of course, there is also a free 14-day trial that you use to enjoy the program. However, you have to cancel before the trial is over if you want to avoid getting charged.
OscaraRecipes on YouTube
Grandmothers aren’t the only ones who are skilled in the kitchen. Grandpas can rock your taste buds, too! Pasquale Sciarappa is a YouTube sensation with over 28 million views on his channel with over 300,000 subscribers. He is your typical Italian grandfather, born in 1939, and his videos are as entertaining as the resulting food is delicious!
He sticks to shorter videos showing specific techniques and is always in good spirits. His channel, known as OscaraRecipes, also uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and he even sells merchandise! Even better than his T-shirts is his recipe calendar! Pasquale’s channel has hundreds of videos teaching you how to make limoncello, meatballs, and stuffed zucchini; and you can even see him get his sweat on for charity.
Universal Class: Italian Cooking 101
Universal Class offers classes in everything from accounting to homeschooling. They offer courses that include multiple classes and exams, and you can pay a little extra if you want an official CEU certificate once you successfully complete the course! Italian Cooking 101 costs $50 without certificate and $75 with. You can take the 12 classes and 21 exams/assignments at your own pace.
With Cooking Italian 101, you will learn the basic techniques, but you will also learn how to prepare some of the most popular and delicious recipes that you enjoy when eating out. Dishes like mozzarella sticks, pasta fagioli, clams oreganata, chicken marsala, shrimp scampi, panna cotta, and ricotta cheesecake. It also teaches you all the terminology so that you can impress your friends and family!
If you are interested in learning more about humans and our ability to cook, check out Hidden Brain’s episode on When Fire Met Food, the Brains of Early Humans Grew Bigger.
Hidden Brain is a fascinating free podcast that you can find anywhere you get your podcasts. This includes NPR, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and Tune In just to name a few. It explores different hidden aspects of human psychology.
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