For a fun, entertaining, and stress-free date night, try your hand at a cooking class! There is plenty of wine and if you start to burn the food, there is a professional there keeping an eye on you to make sure no dish is ruined.
To start your evening, ride the light rail from Seattle Southside to the Pioneer Square stop and walk a couple of blocks to Al Boccalino. Jeff and I arrived a little before 7:00pm and we were the first of our class to arrive.
Sipping on wine, we filled out our waivers and picked out aprons. Slowly the others trickled in; a husband and wife and two friends. Once our class of six was settled in, we were sent to wash our hands and then the food preparation began.
Everyone was given a job. I was in charge of grating three different kinds of cheese and Jeff chopped several different vegetables. We were able to try our hand in multiple ares of the kitchen. I made polenta while Jeff cooked the pasta, one of the women whisked the vinaigrette while another cooked the sausage.
We were always under the watchful eye of Chef Luigi, who handed out careful instructions. Luigi is straight out of an old Italian movie; he has a thick accent and an even thicker mustache. He loves to talk about Italy and learning to cook and the history of the Seattle Little Italy neighborhood.
He is very quick witted and sarcastic and enjoys joking with his students. In addition to explaining how to make the dishes and the food origins, Luigi also taught us how to properly use the kitchen utensils and knives.
Here is the our menu from the evening:
Bruschetta Molisana: Toasted garlic bread served with anchovies, celery, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, olives and hard boiled eggs.
Penne all'Abbruzzese: Penne pasta served with onions, crispy pancetta, fresh basil and pecorino cheese.
Polenta in Spanatoia: Cheesy polenta mixed with pork sausage, mushrooms and rosemary.
Piselli con Pancetta: Chopped shallots along side pancetta, peas and chili.
Coppa di ricotta alla Molisana: Whipped sweetened ricotta, dusted with chocolate and served with strawberries.
While difficult to pronounce, it was all delicious to eat. Once everything was prepared we bellied up to the table and enjoyed the food family style over wine and great conversation.
This class is great for couples, friends or as a team building activity and I would definitely enjoy taking another one!
Note: We did not eat until the very end of the class, around 9pm, so be sure to have a snack before you arrive.
Chef Luigi of Al Boccalino leads small, hands-on classes limited to 10 people, showing students how to carefully prepare five courses of a traditional Italian meal. The exact menu changes, but all sessions conclude with students sitting down to devour the feast they've helped to create. Click here to see a sample menu. Classes can be scheduled starting at 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Participants must be 18 or older. Weekend classes fill quickly.
Classes are $120.00 per person. Wine, gratuity and taxes are not included. Class includes meal prep, food and time with Luigi. Utensils are provided.
About Chef Luigi
Growing up in the Italian port town of Brindisi, Luigi frequented the colorful outdoor markets with his father. Surrounded by stalls bursting with local produce, meat, fish, and dairy, Luigi discovered his love of rustic cuisine composed from the freshest regional ingredients. After immigrating to Seattle in 1977, Luigi amassed experience in both cooking and business while working at a handful of the city's Italian restaurants. In 1989, he opened Al Boccalino, where tables covered in white linen host plates of hearty Italian fare.