The Marina in Cucina Cooking Experience

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of attending a cooking class with Marina (website/ more info) and it was EVERYTHING! Born and raised in Italy, Marina is a chef, Sommelier as well as an Interior Designer!  Her cooking class meets everyone’s needs and tastes through individual and group classes.

Keep reading for photos of our experience and recipes at the end! (YES YOU CAN MAKE THIS AT HOME TOO!!)

My husband decided to surprise me last minute and I couldn't wait to learn some cooking tips from an experienced Italian Chef. What I got out of the experience was that and so much more. 

 First off, the cooking class took place in Marina’s home which is an absolute DREAM. I mean look at this view below !!

When we got there and met Marina, we knew right away that this was going to be an incredible experience. Not only did she start us off with homemade tomato basil water, fresh lemon rind (yes you can eat it) and lemon olives (scroll down for recipe) but she also gave us a tour of her home which holds a lot of history. Her home is beautiful and is the most amazing place to have this unique experience.

We started off by making fresh pasta and sauce. This was the first time I’ve ever made fresh pasta and it was so easy and delicious! Marina was very hands on and helped us every step of the way but let us have the experience of cooking our own meal under her guidance.

She also taught us an amazing tip when it comes to cooking garlic. She put a little bit of olive oil (which you can purchase from her at the end of the night, and trust me you will want to!) in a sizzling hot pan. She then puts the garlic in the pan and places the pan on its side so that all of the olive oil is essentially deep frying the garlic. This method prevents the garlic from easily burning and ensures the garlic caramelizes evenly. It also smells beyond amazing when you cook garlic this way. This is a must try trick for cooking garlic at home!

By placing the pan on its side you can ensure that the olive oil evenly cooks the garlic and helps prevent burning the garlic. Marina was so informative and able to communicate how to cook food simply and with ease. She made us feel as if we could go home and make this exact meal again! Not to mention that the results were DELISH!!!

We also learnt how to make a traditional Italian bread salad. It was so YUMMY and beyond my expectations of what bread salad could be. We rehydrated the double baked bread and the result was a truly authentic Italian taste. We used fresh ingredients that Marina’s garden that she grows at home. It was amazing to see her going back and forth from the different herb plants right to our cooking lesson. It was such a treat!

For our main course we made some delicious Limoncello chicken thighs. While we share some of the recipes below, Marina’s Limoncello chicken thighs were so good that her recipe is a secret!! Trust me that these chicken thighs make visiting Marina’s cooking class a must do experience when in Positano.

Look at the perfect sear on those chicken thighs!

While we don't want to share too much from the experience (you really have to go if you are ever in Positano, this was a highlight of our trip) Marina agreed to let us share some of the recipes below. All in all this was just such a wonderful experience and one not to be missed if you are ever in Positano.

Lemon Olives - Serves 4

1/4 pound green olives on brine

1 lemon

1 tsp chili paste

Rinse the olives and place them in a serving bowl. Zest the lemon and squeeze the lemon juice in. Add the chili paste and whisk all the ingredients together. You can substitute chili paste with chili flakes or tabasco.

Bread Salad- Serves 4

Prepare this salad by using a loaf of artisan bread or rosemary bread that is a touch stale. If your bread is too fresh, toast it until it is about half as dried and crunchy as a crouton. 

2 carrots

2 red beets

1 celery stalk

1 red onion

rusks, or twice baked bread

1 cup white vinegar

olive oil Everything in this salad is fresh, except the bread!

Tear up bread pieces. In a bowl, chop the carrots, beets, celery, onion. Drizzle with the 1 cup vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Soak the bread in a wide bowl with water, just about 5 seconds and drain. In a serving bowl, break the bread in small chunks. Spoon the cold pickled veggies mixture over the bread. Toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tomato Sauce with Caramelized Garlic-Serves 4

 1 lbs fresh tomatoes, like cherry

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 pinch salt

4 T extra virgin olive oil

Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and squeeze them in a bowl. This will make easier to collect all the tomatoes juice. Set aside.

Place a no-stick pan in a diagonal position on the stove: pour in the olive oil and heat it. You’ll see that the oil will concentrate only on one side. This will avoid the garlic to burn and instead it will caramelize. Add the crushed garlic and let it caramelize on low flame for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the cherry tomatoes with all their juice and salt and cook medium-high flame for 10 minutes or until you like the sauce consistency

Home made Pasta- Serves 4

 400 g (14 oz) 00 flour (or 200 g durum wheat flour + 200 g 00 flour) plus extra 100 g (3.5 oz)

water and extra if needed

4 parsley leaves or any other fresh herbs, chopped

salt + pepper

Optional: Milk instead of water Parmesan or pecorino, grated to taste

Heap flour and make a Vesuvio shaped volcano. Add in the parsely leaves. Slowly add water in the hole. Knead energetically until dough is smooth and elastic.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface, to about 1⁄2 cm or a little less than 1⁄4 inch and cut into long strips.Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it as desired.

Drain the pasta when slightly al dente and reserve some pasta water. Add pasta to your favorite sauce. If it’s too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir.

NOTES: ● To embellish this dish, try making it with milk instead of water and/or grated parmesan or pecorino in the dough