Yesterday, I got to attend Casa Barilla, the culmination of the Summer of Italy program. It's taking place in Central Park under a gigantic tent, and it is fascinating and fun and filled with pasta, pasta, pasta!
The event features four days of cooking and culture workshops and demonstrations by top chefs. Interactive classes include Italian Pasta Classics and Italian Coastal Pasta; I particularly liked Simply Healthy Italian Pasta with Chef Ivan Beacco, in which a group watched him make Gnochetti Sardi alla Nuorese (pasta with olives, salami, white wine, shallots and ricotta salata). I didn't have the heart to ask how to convince Max to try other pastas beyond spaghetti (spaghetti all the time is getting a little old for us, but not for Max), though I did ask him how to prevent pasta from sticking. "A little stirring, that's it," he said. Revelatory: He cooked the pasta with a steel colander in the pot. I am so getting one.
There are tasting stations...
The dining area
The Piccolini zone, where tots could make pasta and play games.
The humongous coffee bar. I love caffe macchiato, espresso with a splash of steamed milk. True story: I studied in Italy as a junior in college, and at first didn't realize that when you made a pot of espresso, you were supposed to drink a teeny cup of the stuff—not a gigantic mug of it. I was wired for weeks.
You can also pick up pasta, sauces, vinegars and cool retro tins in a shop.
This is exactly what's missing from Max's room: a pole filled with pasta.
Casa Barilla is happening through Friday September 16. The entry fee, $5 per adult, along with a portion of merchandise sold benefits the Food Bank for New York City. Check it all out (and register for classes) here.
Meanwhile, I snagged this genius spaghetti recipe, good for grownups and kids. Hopefully, it will help us break out of our spaghetti-and-sauce rut!
Barilla Lemon Spaghetti
1 box Barilla spaghetti
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
3/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. marjoram, packed
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
• Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add salt (optional).
• Whisk the oil, grated cheeses, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl to blend.
• Set the lemon sauce aside. (The sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
• Cook the spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until tender yet al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
• Add the spaghetti to the lemon sauce, and toss with the marjoram and lemon zest.
• Toss the pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten.
• Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls. Serve.
Grazie to Barilla for sponsoring Casa Barilla, and this post.