Portobello Cooking Class

Laurie entered and won a free cooking class at Portobello’s and shares her experience.

Carnevale del Veneto was presented on January 31st by Tony and Cathy Mantuano at Portobello. I was blessed to get a free admission to this yummy repast!

I was heartily welcomed when I entered the villa Portobello. I was sent to Joe at the bar, who was giving event attendees Jeio Prosecco and peach Bellinis. I had iced tea and ended up with one sweet and one regular. Waiters walked around with pesto pizza and clams casino pizza. We were seated in a semi-private room with paper over white table clothes. In all, I could have had 4 slices of pizza and 2 – 3 glasses of wine. Chef Tony ran a well paced demonstration and answered questions. Everything used common ingredients and was rather easy to make. Cathy showed us how to make squid ink pasta.

I am not a fan of raw meat. The second course was carpaccio di manzo which is thinly sliced raw beef eye of round topped with arugula salad and parmigiano reggiano cheese. The salad had tiny thin celery slices and a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette. The carpaccio was excellent for raw beef, but I rather have it cooked and spiced up. I would love the arugula salad as an appetizer as it was so light and refreshing. The cheese was not too strong. The wine pairing was Valpolicella, La Sallette, which is a ruby red blend of corvina, rondinella, and Sangiovese.

I watched Cathy make black pasta, as Tony explained some awesome tips such as always use boiling water for pasta; freezing pasta is best done by laying out the pasta in desired shapes in pans, then storing the frozen shaped pasta. I was served thick rice penne pasta that was perfect. They used lobster stock, lemon butter, rock shrimp sautéed in olive oil, thinly sliced garlic, and roasted tomatoes for a delicious, light sauce. This sauce is best on thin pasta such as angel hair.

I am disgusted by raw alcohol so I tasted and decided not to eat the next dish, that the others loved. They used chicken broth, butter, finely chopped shallots, rice, a gallon of wine so it seemed, parmigiano reggiano cheese and pepper. It was a brown soupy rice dish. Sorry but I tired hard. The wine pairing was Soave Classico, Suavia that is a blend of garganega and Trebbiano di Soave.

The grand finale for me was heaven, because I am gluten and soy free! I received my beloved vanilla and honey panna cotta topped with berry sauce and shaved white chocolate! Cold and smooth with notes of honey and vanilla makes this one of my favorite desserts in the universe! Everyone else was offered fried pizza dough with sugar and zabaglione. Zabaglione are egg yolks, sugar, salt, water, and grappa di moscato mixed in a bowl that sits above, not touching, simmering water then placed finished product in ice bath and stir to cool.  Then add real whipped cream and fold. The pairing was Brut Rosé, Jeio. All wines were from Venice, Italy.

Overall they did extremely well despite no notice of my diet. They were accommodating and had the sommelier restaurant manager and an Italian and American certified sommelier. Wait staff were kept running. The tables were quickly removed of unused table settings. Through the day they were bringing out dishes and bussing tables. Tony, Cathy and others answered questions and made this a fun lesson. I learned how to make several dishes and improve my current pasta dishes. For $50 a person, you receive 7 to 10 glasses of wine, 2 – 4 slices of pizza, carpaccio, pasta, risotto, and dessert.  Bellinis usually sell for $12 minimum in WDW. As one who avoids alcohol, I received what I paid for and fee,l with the cooking class, the value was worth $80 without wine.

I highly RECOMMEND!  Please, try these cooking classes. They are worth the time and money invested. I have happy memories and was filled up with the best Italian food in WDW!