Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pasta Classes in Bottega!

Disclaimer: I was invited to the pasta class demo and treated to nibbles, compliments of AMPR and Bottega. 

How do you guys like celebrating your birthday? Especially like…a milestone birthday, the big 18, the big 21….is 25 considered big? It is a quarter of a century! 

When I've had a birthday, I've always loved being able to spend time with people that make me smile. Going out for dinner, or having my buddies over for dinner…as long as there's food and laughs, you know it's bound to be a good time!

And it sounds like Bottega, celebrating their 10th Birthday (which is huge in restaurant years!), is keen to do the same! The formula they've got sounds pretty good: pasta classes, head chef Gabriele Olivieri and a two course lunch…with wines! 

I was invited to a little sneak peek of the pasta class with a few other bloggers, and whilst we didn't get the full experience, we certainly were left with mouths watering for more!

Gabriele Olivieri, originally from the Adriatic Coast of Italy, with a background (of over 15 years) that includes Michelin star kitchen's, Ezard and Thai restaurants, makes the perfect host and teacher. Full of smiles, laughter, fond stories of his nonna and a warm and thick Italian accent (I think we all just wanted him to talk all night), he is a true Italian man. He also used 'Boom!' a couple of times to describe things, which kind of makes me think of Fabio Viviani from Top Chef in the states who loves to use 'Boom!' in his tweets…

Stepping out from the kitchen, Gabriele was to show us two different kind of pasta's. Tagliolini, a pasta with a drier dough, and a strozzapreti (which I had never heard of), which was a pasta which needed a slightly stickier dough. 

Gabriele made quick, easy work of the dough for the tagliolini. It was kind of unfair how easy it looked! It's all in the biceps apparently...

A couple of tasty nibbles while we're watching…

Watching Gabriele work the pasta machine was quite amazing, and again, he was swift as anything! He managed to get it so long, but with such a nice consistency. 

Oops! Minor malfunction…

I love watching (and obviously taking pictures) of people working with their hands. I think it's so beautiful and something that does get lost, especially in restaurants, where the food comes out looking picture perfect through doors that hide the real action. To me, watching the making of, really brings life to the food, and it's obvious how passionate Gabriele is about Italian food, happily answering all our questions and entertaining our requests to 'SLOW DOWN! YOUR HANDS ARE TOO FAST FOR OUR CAMERAS!'. 

Picture compliments of Bottega

The strozzapreti was a very quick twisting motion, which gave you this tightly wound cylindrical shape. I also got into the action, so I can reassure you….it's a lot easier than it looks!

After the pasta was made, we got to sneak into the kitchen to watch them cook the strozzapretti for us. Since the pasta was freshly made, it was very quick to cook! 

With a classic bolognese sauce, a shave or two of cheese, we were all in heaven. The strozzapretti had a fascinating texture which I hadn't really come across before, springy, thick and full in the mouth, it was totally moreish…and had me convinced I needed to come back to Bottega for a full meal next time. Fresh hand made pasta makes all the difference! 

So get in quick guys. Only two classes are being offered, Saturday the 4th and 11th of August, with limited spots and for just $70 per person. That's $70 for a pasta class and a two course lunch, with wines! Call Courtney at Bottega (9654 2252) for more information or to book your spot!

74 Bourke Street, Melbourne
9654 2252

Pasta Classes
4th and 11th of August (Saturday)
Pasta class + 2 course lunch with matched wines

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