By Terry Rogers
The Verde Italian Cooking School, owned and operated by Nancy Chirdon Forster, held class on Saturday, January 25, at the school’s location at 10 Southwest Front Street in Milford. The class, which was called a “Pasta and Risotto Workshop” taught students how to create authentic Italian pasta and risotto dishes under the tutelage of Ms. Forster.
“Pasta is a familiar dish all over the country, and risotto, a very simple dish to make, is growing in popularity,” Mrs. Forster said, explaining why she chose the topic of the workshop. “In New York, there are entire restaurants now devoted to risotto. The other reason I chose these dishes is that all of the ingredients I use are available locally.”
Forster began the class by explaining that pasta is very simple to make, although many people are intimidated by it. Believing that fresh pasta offers better flavor and texture than dried, store-bought brands, Forster taught students to make pasta ribbons with mushroom sauce, papperdelle, tomato sauce with basil, a cheese sauce made with fonduta cheese and two risotto dishes, a risotto Milanese and lemon risotto.
As Mrs. Forster began to mix the pasta dough, she offered students several cooking tips that they could use for almost any type of cooking. Students were encouraged to ask questions and participate in the creation of each recipe.
“When adding eggs, always lightly beat them to incorporate them thoroughly into the recipe,” Mrs. Forster said, as one of the many tips she provided to students throughout the lesson. “Grating cheese finely helps incorporate it easier into a recipe, and always use room temperature ingredients unless the recipe expressly says not to do so, as it does make a difference in the outcome of the recipe.”
Students assisted Mrs. Forster with kneading the pasta, slicing herbs, making the various pasta varieties and cooking all the dishes that were created that day.
Mrs. Forster has a long history in culinary arts, and is very familiar to Milford residents. For ten years, she owned and operated Nancy’s Riverfront Café in historic downtown Milford, and learned many of her cooking skills when she worked in her Italian grandmother’s ice cream parlor as a young girl. Mrs. Forster also suggested and approved menus for the White House during the Ford Administration, and at the Delaware Governor’s House.
The next cooking class at Verde Italian Cooking School is scheduled for Saturday, February 1, from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm, and is titled “Fit & Fresh.” In that class, students will learn to make roasted asparagus, roasted pork leg with rosemary, stuffed baby peppers and sautéed spiced apples. For more information, contact the school at 302-424-1114.