On Thursday, I had arranged a Venetian cooking class with chef Carolyn Burkhardt, American born but living and cooking in Venice for many years. We met up with Florida friend Jan at Bar Puppa, along with her friend Donna. It was great to see Jan again! We walked across Venice, fighting the crowds around the Rialto bridge. Once in Dorsoduro, we met up with Nan in Campo S. Margarita and then Carolyn, who brought us to her family’s palazzo on the Campo. Upstairs, Carolyn has a huge (by Venetian standards) kitchen in her pretty apartment. We got to work, first making traditional league de gatto (cats tongue) cookies and a mascarpone-based Doge’s Cream for dessert.
We made fresh squid ink pasta, a very traditional Venetian preparation. Carolyn laughed that Halloween seemed an appropriate day to make black pasta. To my surprise, you can get the little packets of ink at the supermarket here, and Carolyn gave us each one to bring home.
Mixing the egg gradually into the flour takes a bit of practice, and then the dough is kneaded before being wrapped and left to rest. The sauce today was another Venetian tradition, Alla Busara, shrimp with tomatoes. Carolyn shared a tip for getting the most flavor and texture from shrimp, a brief brining.
Carolyn had prepared some toppings for cichetti, which we assembled. With a glass of Prosecco, a delicious snack, especially since I’d skipped breakfast.
We rolled out the pasta by hand, Carolyn checking carefully and giving guidance so we had an even thickness. We then cut the pasta, and Carolyn demonstrated how to fill and form two stuffed kinds, ravioli and tortelli. Our stuffing was baccala montecata, the traditional creamed cod that I’ve only eaten as a cicheti topping. We cut the remaining pasta into tagliatelle. More than a bit of variation in our ravioli and tortellini sizes and shapes, this is something that will take practice to do by hand.
Then the pasta went into pots, the sauce finished, and we sat down to eat. The baccala made for a nice filling, and I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate flavor of the squid ink pasta, subtly tasting of the sea. I also loved the sauce, with the fresh tomatoes instead of the purée tomato sauce I’ve had in restaurant alla busara dishes.
Fun, informative class, and Carolyn gives excellent instruction. She can be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to reserve.
Pictorial proof I was there too.
Meanwhile, Larry had decided to go find the ancient Jewish cemetery on Lido, which we had heard about when we toured the synagogues in the Ghetto. It is about a 15 minute walk from the vaporetto stop, and luckily the gate was upon. The cemetery was established in 1386. You can read about it here- Jewish Cemetery on Lido
Larry met up with me aftward, and we took the vaporetto to the Arsenale for some more of the Biennale. We only stayed about an hour, since we had week long tickets which allowed us to return. I find the Biennale more enjoyable and rewarding if I don’t have to try to take the whole thing in one gulp. Not too much was pulling me this afternoon, although I did enjoy a textile installation of crocheted coral and a weird and funny video of sandwiches being made and unmade with ingredients like tomato and businessmen.
The work that most resonated with me on this visit was a sound installation by Shilpta Gulpta called “For In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit.” The artist describes it as a “symphony of recorded voices which speak or sing the verses of 100 poets who were imprisoned for their work or politics from the 7th century through today. ” You walk through a field of spikes which impale scraps of paper holding fragments of poetry, with microphones above and audio of whispered or sung poetry. It is mesmerizing, with an unsettling mixture of gentleness and harshness. I found it compelling.
Ugh, there’s a Grandi Navi , big ship, going through the mouth of the canal.
Back home on the vap, very crowded this time of day, especially on the start of the long weekend of All Saints Day tomorrow. We first had a drink in Campo S. Apostoli , watching the kids dressed in Halloween costumes careening around trick or treating at the shops. Then home for leftover fish and salad for dinner.