Located in northern Italy, Lombardy stretches up towards Lake Como and down to Milan. The region is home to many rich, regal dishes such as golden risotto alla Milanese, rice cooked with saffron; ossobuco, a marrow-filled knuckle of veal; and panettone, a soft, sweet bread dotted with raisins and candied fruit found around Christmas.
Zen and I are here at the Casa Barilla Cooking School, for the Lombardy class which is part of 'The Regions Of Italy' series.
The Regions Of Italy classes celebrate regional ingredients and traditional dishes. Each class is intimate, with a maximum of 16 people. It is slightly hands-on and involves you cooking your own dinner! I've said slightly, because you work in teams of 3 or 4 and depending on the complexity (or simplicity in our case tonight), there may not be all that much chopping or braising or stirring to be split amongst the team. However, with that said, the class is perfect for anybody who wants to learn about the basics of cooking authentic Italian cuisine. It is more about the cultural inspiration and less about technique.
Upon arrival, we are served Prosecco and antipasto.
On the agenda tonight is Ossobucco alla Milanese served with Barilla Polenta and for dessert, Salame di Cioccolato which is Executive Chef Luca Ciano's mother's recipe.
We split up into groups of 3 or 4 and put on Barilla branded aprons which are neatly packaged at each kitchen station.
Assembling back at the demonstration kitchen, Luca takes us through the culinary delights of Lombardy and shares his golden rules of cooking Ossobuco.
It is now our turn to replicate what we've just seen at our own kitchen stations.
½ onion, finely chopped
½ carrot, finely chopped
½ stick of celery, finely chopped
100g unsalted butter
4 veal ossobuchi (300 - 350g each)
100g plain flour
1 glass white wine
2 glasses veal stock
1 tin peeled tomatoes or 3 fresh vine-ripened tomatoes (optional)
100g green peas
30g lemon zest
¼ bunch parsley
1 garlic clove
Salt & pepper and olive oil
In a large casserole, gently cook the onion, carrot and celery in butter until golden.
Coat the ossobuchi in flour, season them and sear on both sides in the same pan.
Add the wine and let it evaporate. Add the stock and tomatoes and simmer with a lid on for an hour and a half.
To make the gremolata, finely chop the lemon zest, parsley, garlic and mix with a little olive oil and season to taste.
Five minutes before serving, add the peas and season to taste. Serve with gremolata.
Our pieces of occobuchi are quite large and with the limited cooking time, we struggle to reproduce the melt-in-your-mouth effect.
I have since recreated this at home and can proudly say that it was a huge success! With the luxury of time, I slow cooked 8 serves of ossobucco for just over 3 hours. The meat was meltingly tender and the sauce was rich, creamy and flavourful. My dinner guests absolutely loved the addition of gremolata.
Osso bucco is such an incredible dish. It is so hearty and just perfect for winter; plus It requires minimal preparation time and can be cooked in advance (and warmed up in the oven) so makes a great party dish too.
Learn to appreciate the origin of classic italian dishes and check out other classes in the Regions of Italy series:
Tuesday 10 August, 6 - 8:30pm
Wednesday 11 August, 6 - 8:30pm
Tuesday 21 September, 6 - 8:30pm
Wednesday 22 September, 6 - 8:30pm
Wednesday 6 October, 6 - 8:30pm
Thursday 7 October, 6 - 8:30pm
Cost is $90 per person and includes prosecco and antipasto on arrival, all food and glass of wine with your meal, and generous goodie bag to take home.
JENIUS and her partner attended the Lombardy cooking class as guests of Casa Barilla and Exposure PR.