An 84-year-old Italian nonna just outside of Rome is helping to bring a little bit of brightness over the internet by leading virtual pasta-making classes. Run by Nonna Nerina and her granddaughters, "Nonna Live," allows anyone to live stream a 2-hour cooking class of their choosing.
I heard about Nonna from a friend who had taken two of her classes and figured it would be a fun way to spend Mother's Day virtually with my mom and my sister-in-law. We all signed up for the Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese about ten days before the class, and within a few days received an email with a list of ingredients we would need.
Most of the ingredients were simple staples that were easy to find at the grocery store. Since we were making pasta, we did, however, need a specific type of flour that Nonna recommended we buy on Amazon and even sent us links to a few options.
Class started promptly at 11 am CST (7 pm in Rome) with seven people logging on to a google hangouts link that was sent in an email shortly before the class began. Our instructor spoke only Italian and introduced her son that would be translating her instructions to English. She was warm and bubbly and joked with us during the class, while she sipped on wine. It was comfortable to ask questions through the chat feature in google hangouts– and she responded to each question verbally and wrote them out in the chat. My classmates were from all over the United States, and I loved the feeling of hanging out and meeting new people– even if it was just virtually.
Advice from my friend who had taken her class, was to have all of your ingredients out and ready to go before class begins– and she was 1000% right. The class moved quickly! The video panned from her face to her cutting board so you could see exactly what she was cutting, or the technique for a certain step. At one point she asked everyone to point their camera on the dough they made, and she provided recommendations. Although it was a little nerve wracking, when she said my dough looked "bellissima" - it honestly made my whole day!
My favorite parts of the class were the explanations about where the recipe originated, the history behind it, and her family's experience. The rolling pin she used to roll out her dough was hundreds of years old, and she told the story of it being handed down generations in their family– so cool!
My pasta didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, but I loved learning about the process. The accompanying sauce was phenomenal and uncomplicated. Overall it was a fun experience that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to upgrade cooking skills, explore original recipes, and make new friends.
Check out their full schedule and register for a virtual live cooking class here!