Come Along with me to Culinary School in Bologna!

Meet Simone Guerra, one of the fantastic people I met during my stay in Italy for “Project Healthy in Italy”. (Read about it here). I was introduced to Simone, the founder of the culinary school Otto in Cucina in Bologna by Valeria Moschet, the women behind the succesessful blog My Lovely Bologna 

If you are travelling to Bologna I really recommend stopping by her site and Instagram account with the same name for some great tips!

Below the pictures you will learn more about how Simone founded one of Bolognas most modern culinary schools…

The Pasta Warrior

Simone Guerra is the founder of the culinary school “Otto in Cucina”. Her last name is “Guerra” which means warrior in Italian. Considering what she embarked upon a year ago when building her culinary school form the ground up, the meaning of her last name is very appropriate! You can see the video from her journey here

The moment I entered the school I could sense the passion and labour that went into building the beautiful, brand new culinary school full of modern equipment and design, which is branded with Simones staple color; hot pink.

Here is also a video from the lovely herb garden at the school! 

“Otto in Cucina” means “eight in the kitchen”, referring to the Italian school grade system where grade 10 is the best. Simone is not a chef with a formal education therfore she found herself more comfortable with telling her students that if you can acheive culinary results worth the grade 8 and not always 10, that still means you can make som amazing food! Food should be about pleasure, fun, joy and nutrition and not about perfection.

Becoming a Master of Pasta, Sfolia

I love the fresh egg pasta which is typical of Bologna and the Emilia- Romagna area and Simone taught me how to make the classic tagliatelle pasta which are the flat pasta that are suppose to be 1 m.m. x 6 m.m. in size. I can assure you this will take practice to acheive…

Simone learned the art of cooking  from her grandmother who was a “sfoglina”, female pastamaker, but the art of making fresh pasta she actually learned from the mother of one of her sons friends.

For years she had been intimidated by the art of pasta, thinking it would be to difficult to learn. But her friend told her otherwise. She was a professional “sfoglina” by trade and meant that anyone could learn and become good at making “sfoglia”  with a little love, passion and practice.

The two became both good friends and cooking buddies, talking eagerly about pasta making in the school halls. Eventually some of the fathers at the school overheared the conversations and wanted to learn more about pasta as more and more Italian men are getting into the kitchen. So the journey begins…

From Hobby to Career

Do to the demand of several fathers wanting to learn how to make pasta, Simone and her friend- the professional pasta maker, started pasta and cooking courses in Simones house in 2012. By 2013 they held about 150 courses in all kinds of cuisines and simply outgrew her house.

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Simone is a great teacher!

In 2017 Simone and her husband decided to invest in a property that today is the culinary school Otto in Cucina where Simone and her staff share their passion and knowledge about Italian food as well as other cuisines for both private persons and companies.

I highly recommend booking a class if you ever are in the area!  Visit her school here

Here are the dishes we made that evening; fresh egg tagliatelle, pesto, agrugula pesto with pistachios, cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese. 

Having great fun while learning about Italian cooking and being inspired by these talented women! Simone, Valeria and Stefania. ( http://www.mylovelybologna.com and http://www.mymodenadiary.com. More to come later).


Spelt Orecchiette with Summer Zucchini and Parmesan

Try taking the pasta away from the Italians and I am sure you will live to regret it! Luckily there are so many healthy options being grown and produced in Italy that are a great alternativ to the refined white, wheat based pasta.

These products are being exported all around the globe and I can even buy some of them back home in my country of Norway at my local heath food store.  So today I have a great vegeterian, healthy pasta dish for you!

 

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Blood-sugar friendly whole grain spelt pasta.

I am a carbohydrate loving girl, but unfortunately my weight nor my blood sugar feels the same love, and being in Italy for a month with “Project Healthy in Italy” (read about it here) doesn’t exactly make it easier for me to stay away…

But luckily there are so many healthier alternatives to the white, processed wheat pasta at every corner. Italians are actually  large producers of the healthy ancient grain spelt, and i love it! My body digests this so much better and the taste is fantastic.

So todays recipe is made with organic whole grain spelt orecchiette ( a type of pasta from Tuscany that looks like ears) and local produce that I bought at the market today.

Italy is famed for its’ zucchini vegetables and come in all shapes and sizes, so I simply had to make something with these beautiful and healthy vegetables.  This recipe is vegeterian and vegan if you leave out the parmesan.

 

Spelt Orecchiette with Summer Zucchini and Parmesan

  • Whole grain spelt pasta. (It does not have to be orecchiettie)
  • One green zucchini
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Parmesan ( Real Reggiano parmiggano and not the fake kind!)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • White beans, fresh or canned (optional)

 

How to: Cook the pasta as advised on the pack. In a pan, fry the chopped garlic with finely sliced zucchini. Add salt and pepper and fry until golden. Mix with the cooked pasta and add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add parmesan and fresh basil. If you have beans (like I added in my dish because they we so beautiful), you can cook them with the pasta if fresh, or add to the zucchini mixture before adding to the pasta.

 

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Will I Get Healthy in Italy or Heavy in Italy?

The struggle and fear is real… 

Living in the land of carbs, and white carbs at that, is a scary thought for me.

(Don’t know what I am talking about? Read about Project Healthy in Italy here)

As a previously overweight child and adult strugglig to keep a balanced weight and mind, carbohydrates and especially pizza and pasta, are my absolute drugs! The more I eat, the more I crave. Do you know the feeling? Also the more I eat, the more fat I gain, especially around my stomach. The more depressed I get as well. It’s a vicious cycle.

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I can eat pizza ( regular wheat based) or pasta ( regular white, wheat pasta) as a serving once in a while, but if I eat more than one meal consisting of this during a day or a week, my mind and body says, “stop!”.

I feel tired, depressed, bloated, and have a really cloudy mind. My body aches more as well and I just don’t feel inspired to really do anything.

So how am I going to cope for 1 month in Bologna, Italy where the temptations and carbs are literally at every corner? And how can it really be that the Italians can stay healthy, slim(?) and be the healthiest country in Europe and the world when this kind of diet makes me fat and a generally unhappy person?

Follow my journey and find out how my Project Healthy in Italy goes here on my blog and through my social media accounts Instagram here , Facebook here and YouTube here

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