If you didn’t already know – I’m obsessed with Italian food. However, when it comes to cooking it, I don’t quite see myself as the next Gino D’Acampo. I would love to impress my friends by serving up the finest homemade spaghetti, ravioli, linguine or even tortellini from the comfort of my own home. But a tuna pasta bake with a homemade chopped tomato and garlic sauce is as far as I get…
So when I was invited to try out a Pasta Making Masterclass ran by Maurizio at Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, at Manchester’s Corn Exchange, I jumped to the chance. This activity was joined on from a recent stay at Roomzzz at the Corn Exchange (you can read about my weekend here) and it was the ideal icing on the cake to the trip!
The small group classes teach you to become a ‘pasta master’ and learn the secrets of making beautiful, simple Neapolitan cuisine all in 3 hours.
As I could happily eat pasta all day everyday, I was more than happy to give this a go. So myself, my boyfriend and another couple headed down to the basement of Salvi’s restaurant to begin our lesson (which is super cute and cosy – I never knew it was there but it’s like a real authentic underground Italian with the cosiest, cutest vibe).
Let me just start by saying if you’ve ever tasted freshly made pasta, then you’ll realise just how good it is. And once you’ve mastered the art of making it yourself, you’ll never want to tuck into supermarket bought pasta again – trust me.
As this step-by-step class at Salvis includes Prosecco and traditional antipasti platter on arrival too, you get a real Italian experience. These antipasti boards were incredible, literally piled high with cured Italian meats, the softest mozzarella, olives and tomato bread. Oh and the Prosecco was free pouring too, so I can safely say my lesson got off to a great start!
Maurizio holds the authentic Italian pasta in a small dimly lit room downstairs at Salvis restaurant, decorated with wine bottles adorning the walls.
Starting with shells and twist shape pasta, Maurizio taught us from scratch how to make the dough, shape it into classic shapes by hand, and use the pasta making machine for the sheets and tagliatelle.
I have to say I was pretty grateful for his assistance with the pasta making machine – those pasta sheets can roll out fairly long and there were a few occasions where my pasta was sure to fit the floor!
It’s a bit of a fiddly activity, but you either grasp it first time, or you don’t. And if you don’t, Maurizio is straight over to assist you and go over the steps again. I’d have to admit that I kind of got the hang of it – I became a pro at making bow pasta shapes, but put me on the spirals and I was more spiralling out of control!
I actually changed the rules up a little and opted to try out one of Salvi’s highly talked about pizzas after the class. They are made the ‘Naples’ way, using hand stretched dough and cooked fast at 400 degrees.
After eating way too much of the delicious Mozzarella before the pasta class, I chose the Marinara Pizza, which is topped with tomatoes, garlic, anchovies and olives (and no cheese, as I was due a cheese break!). They cooked the pizza in the sweetest heart shape – such a lovely touch.
I can see why people rave about the fresh pizzas at Salvi’s. The dough was soft and doughy with a slight crisp to it, and the combination of salty anchovies and olives worked well with the juicy tomato and garlic base. Delicious!
I’ll be asking about pizza making classes next…
If you prefer to eat the pasta and not get your hands full of dough, these classes make a brilliant gift for the Italian food lovers out there. If you’re buying a Pasta Masterclass as a gift and aren’t sure of a suitable date, then you can just select the “Gift Card” option and Salvi’s will post a card out to you to give to your loved one!
The 3 hours lessons are priced at £65 per person, and includes Prosecco, antipasti and a chance to try freshly made pasta afterwards.
Classes run from 6-9pm at the Salvi’s Corn Exchange restaurant.